Sep 4, 2023 4 min read

Coldplay's ex-manager seeks at least £10 million in management contract lawsuit

More details have emerged about the lawsuit being pursued against Coldplay by their ex-manager Dave Holmes, who claims the band reneged on his most recent management deal.

Coldplay's ex-manager seeks at least £10 million in management contract lawsuit

Coldplay's former manager Dave Holmes is seeking more than £10 million in a lawsuit filed against the band which centres on an abandoned management contract that covered work on their next two albums.

It emerged last month that Holmes, who stood down as Coldplay's manager last year after more than two decades working with the band, had launched legal action.

According to the Daily Mail, legal papers filed with the UK high court run through the contractual wranglings that led to the split, as well as setting out the monies Holmes reckons he is now due.

The lawsuit explains that, in the past, Holmes agreed management deals with the band that were structured around album cycles, so that each contract would run until work began on the next record.

Since 2014, each deal covered two album cycles, with the most recent contract linked to the release of 'Everyday Life' and 'Music Of The Spheres'. That arrangement ran until the end of last year.

As is the norm with artist management, Holmes worked on a commission basis, charging a commission on the band's income from their records and tours, and other projects he was involved in.

Holmes claims that - following the release of 'Music Of The Spheres' - another management deal was basically agreed for a future tenth and eleventh album, which would extend his partnership with the band through to the end of 2025.

As that new management contract was being put in place in 2021, Holmes also negotiated a new record deal with Warner Music's Parlophone, covering the next three Coldplay albums. That record deal provided a £35 million advance for album number ten, and £15 million each for the next two records.

In November 2021, Holmes' lawsuit states, the band's lawyer sent him a contract covering the next phase of his work for Coldplay. It was dated 1 Apr 2021 and had basically already gone into effect because of the Warner deal and advance, on which the manager had commissioned.

Holmes says he then began work on the next album, arranging recording sessions, putting in place a release and marketing plan, and sorting out a licence for a sample that the band planned to use.

He also began prep on their next tour which will take place in 2024 and 2025, meeting with promoters and putting together potential agreements with venues.

All this work, he adds, was done in liaison with Chris Martin and the other band members, who were kept in the loop on the plans for both the next record and the next tour.

But then, he alleges, the band started to claim that the new management contract had not, in fact, been agreed. And it became clear that they wanted to change the terms of his deal moving forward.

Then, in August last year, Holmes was told that the band actually wanted to hire him as Head Of Touring rather than their manager. That would mean he would only be involved in their live activity and therefore could only charge a commission on touring income.

He says that two drafts of a Head Of Touring contract were sent through, but ultimately the band withdrew that offer as well, with their lawyer then informing Holmes he had been dismissed. That then resulted in another dispute over what commissions should be paid to the now ex-manager relating to his past work.

In his lawsuit, Holmes wants the court to confirm that the management contract covering the next two Coldplay albums is valid and to force the payment of outstanding commissions.

Or, if that's not possible, he asks the court to award him damages and/or payment for the work he had already done on Coldplay's next release and tour before being sacked.

Commenting on the lawsuit, a spokesperson for the band tells reporters: “Dave Holmes’ management contract with Coldplay expired at the end of 2022, at which point they decided not to start a new one. The matter is now in the hands of Coldplay’s lawyers and the claims are being vigorously disputed".

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Holmes says: “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 honour Dave’s management contract and pay him what he is owed".

The band's management is now being overseen by their first manager, and Creative Director, Phil Harvey, as well as Mandi Frost and Arlene Moon, both of whom previously worked alongside Holmes.

EXCLUSIVE Former Coldplay manager is suing the band in £10M lawsuit
Former Coldplay manager Dave Holmes has filed a lawsuit against the band for breach of contract after the group allegedly refused to pay him for his work, MailOnline can reveal.
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