Coldplay and their former manager have filed competing claims in London’s High Court, with each party seeking millions of pounds from the other.
Dave Holmes, who worked with the band from 2005 to 2022, sued them in August for £10 million (KSh. 1.8B) in unpaid commission.
In a counter-claim, the group rejected his claim and said Holmes had allowed tour costs to spiral out of control and demanded £14 million (KSh. 2.5B) in damages.
The case could come to court if the parties do not settle.
Holmes’ original court case claimed that Coldplay owed him commission for two as-yet-unreleased albums.
According to his lawyers, the band were paid an advance of £35 million (KSh. 3.6B) for their 10th album and £30 million (KSh. 5.4B) for their 11th and 12th albums.
Holmes maintains that he helped to organise recording sessions, clear samples and liaised with producer Max Martin before the band decided not to renew his contract last year.
He is asking the High Court to declare that a contract covering the tenth and eleventh albums is valid, and to order payment.
For the band’s previous two albums, Everyday Life (2019) and Music of the Spheres (2021), he says he was paid between 8% and 13% commission.
When the case was filed, a representative for Coldplay said the claims would be “vigorously disputed” and, in a counter-claim filed on Friday, the band fired back.
In court papers seen by The Times, Coldplay alleged that Holmes had obtained loans totalling $30 million (KSh. 4.4B) from concert promoters Live Nation, who have worked with Coldplay for years.
“To the best of [our] knowledge… Mr Holmes used monies obtained by the loan agreements to fund a property development venture in or around Vancouver, Canada,” the band alleged in the papers, arguing that he had used his position as their manager as leverage.
They added that the debt could have affected Holmes’ ability to negotiate favourable terms for the band’s ongoing Music of The Spheres tour.
The court documents further allege that Holmes failed “adequately to supervise and control the tour budget”, with expensive equipment ordered or bought that was not fit for purpose.
This included a $9.7 million (KSh. 1.4B) video screen that was so big it could not be brought on tour, and was only used for 10 performances in Buenos Aires.
Sixteen bespoke stage pylons were also ordered at a cost of €10.6 million (KSh. 1.6B) before it transpired they were unusable, the court documents allege.
“Had Mr Holmes exercised reasonable care and skill in the performance of his obligations”, the counter-claim continues, the band would not have incurred costs of at least £17.5 million (KSh. 3.1B).
Asked about the counter-claim this weekend, a spokesperson for Holmes told The Times: “Coldplay know they are in trouble with their defence.
“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 honour it and they need to pay Dave what they owe him”.
The former manager will now respond to the counter-claim as the case continues.