Coldplay Lawsuit From Former Manager Takes Unpleasant Turn

A high-profile lawsuit involving a relatively low-drama band

Coldplay live on stage at Parken Stadium on July 5, 2023 in Copenhagen.
Coldplay live on stage at Parken Stadium on July 5, 2023 in Copenhagen.
Ole Jensen/Getty Images

There are some musicians for whom drama seems second nature, who you might expect to find enmeshed in various scandals of personal and professional natures. Matty Healy of The 1975 is perhaps the highest-profile recent example, though he’s far from alone in this respect. On the other side of the spectrum — or seemingly so — are Coldplay, who come off as decidedly normal, reasonably polite individuals. When the breakup of your frontman’s marriage involves the phrase “conscious uncoupling,” it’s safe to assume you’re in relatively mild territory.

That said, “safe to assume” doesn’t always make something accurate. And as Variety‘s K.J. Yossman and Jem Aswad reported, Coldplay are currently enmeshed in a lawsuit initiated by their former manager Dave Holmes where the group doesn’t come off looking well at all.

The band did not renew Holmes’s contract in 2022. Prior to that, he had been their manager for over 20 years — and is now suing them, arguing that they owe him payment for Coldplay albums 10 through 12. According to Holmes’s lawsuit, the band received advances for all three albums, but he was not paid for any of them; he did receive commissions for their eighth and ninth albums.

Holmes’s suit went on to argue that he did a significant amount of logistical work for the albums, ranging from booking studio time to making arrangements to use certain samples for the records. All told, Variety reports that Holmes is seeking $12 million.

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Details on when the suit might be resolved remain unclear, but this lawsuit does seem to have a relatively clear path to resolution; one would think that the issue of whether Holmes is owed money for as-yet-unreleased albums that the band received money for would be clearly spelled out somewhere. And perhaps this is also a useful reminder that even the most seemingly drama-free bands can still be at the center of multi-million dollar lawsuits.

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