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Coldplay Countersues Ex-Manager Over Skyrocketing Tour Costs

Coldplay countersues ex-manager over skyrocketing tour costs, deepening their legal battle. The dispute reveals the complexities of artist-management ties.

Mariella Blankenship
Oct 10, 20239434 Shares235854 Views
In a dramatic twist, Coldplay countersues ex-manager over skyrocketing tour costs, delving deeper into a heated legal battle with their former manager, Dave Holmes. The band has turned the tables after Holmes originally sought about $12 million from them for alleged unpaid commission. Coldplay’s counterclaim alleges severe financial mismanagement during their "Music of the Spheres" tour.
The band stated in their filing that costs "escalated rapidly," and that Holmes did not "fail[ed] adequately to supervise and control the tour budget at all times," resulting in an additional expenditure of approximately £17.5 million (about $21 million).
The band blamed Holmes for the acquisition of expensive and ultimately unusable equipment, such as “16 bespoke stage pylons” which cost about $11 million. Another blunder was the $9.7 million “visual project known as Jet Screen,” which due to incorrect measurements, was usable in just 10 shows in Buenos Aires.
“Coldplay knows they’re in trouble with their defense. Accusing Dave Holmes of non-existent ethical lapses and other made-up misconduct will not deflect from the real issue at hand: Coldplay had a contract with Dave, they are refusing to honor it and they need to pay Dave what they owe him,” a spokesperson for Holmes said, echoing similar sentiments to what was reported in The Times.

Loans, Property Ventures, And Contract Disputes

Furthermore, Coldplay alleges that Holmes, leveraging his relationship with them, secured two substantial loans from Live Nation: $20 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2018, both at an interest rate of 2.72 percent annually. The band claims this money funded a "profitable" property development venture in Vancouver.
Their filing suggests it can be "inferred" that Holmes procured these loans solely due to his position as Coldplay’s manager, which might have led to a potential or actual conflict of interest, especially given his owed debt to Live Nation during the negotiations for the "Music of the Spheres" tour.
“Any past dealings with their management team were considered an extension of this relationship,” Live Nation remarked, emphasizing their "strong and longstanding relationship with Coldplay."
Holmes had managed Coldplay from 2005 until 2022 and had a substantial role in their success. However, the current lawsuit paints a picture of disputes over their last two unreleased albums. Holmes claims he was owed £10m in commission related to these projects.
Dave’s lawyer, Phil Sherrell, noted, “Dave Holmes successfully managed Coldplay for more than 22 years, steering them to be one of the most successful bands in music history. Now, as the legal case shows, Coldplay is refusing to honor Dave’s management contract and pay him what he is owed.”
Coldplay's legal team denies these claims “in its entirety” and stresses that their last contract with Holmes's company covered only their eighth and ninth albums.
It remains to be seen how this legal battle will unfold, but what's certain is the significant legacy and contribution of both parties to the music industry.


The legal standoff between Coldplay and ex-manager Dave Holmes highlights the intricacies of artist-management relationships. As the industry watches closely, the outcome will illuminate both the financial and emotional complexities of long-term collaborations in the world of music. Their two-decade legacy, however, remains intact.
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