Post Malone and songwriter file clashing lawsuits over 'Circles'

Post Malone and songwriter Tyler Armes have filed their own respective lawsuits over the rapper’s 2019 hit ‘Circles’.

On Tuesday (April 7), the rapper asked a New York Federal Judge to rule that Armes has no claim to the ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ track’s copyright and did not participate in writing IT.

“It is an age-old story in the music business that when a song earns the type of runaway success that ‘Circles’ has garnered, and individuals will come out of the woodwork falsely claim to take credit for the song, and demand unwarranted and unearned windfall profits from the song,” reads Malone’s complaint.

He filed his lawsuit after Armes filed his own federal lawsuit in California on the same day. His suit lists Post, Post’s producer Frank Dukes and Universal Music Group as defendant, and claims he is seeking co-writer and co-producer credits, as well as prospective and retroactive royalties and other money owed from the track.

Post Malone
Post Malone (Picture: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

According to Armes, he joined the rapper and Frank Dukes in August 2018, after he was encouraged by Post’s manager Dre London to record in Dukes’ Toronto studio.

Working from 2-9AM, Armes claims he played bass on the track while  Post played drums and Dukes played guitar and keyboards.

His complaint states that “although Post has freely admitted that Armes co-wrote ‘Circles’ with him and Dukes during the August 2018 session at Dukes’ studio, Post and Dukes have refused to credit [him] and as a co-writer and have refused to pay [him] a fair share of the monies derived from the exploitation of ‘Circles.’”

In contrast, Post acknowledges that Armes was present for the session, but “he did not write any music or lyrics that were used in the ‘Circles’ composition during the session or anytime after”.

He adds that he continued to work on the song with three other songwriters – Walsh, Gunesberk and Bell – in subsequent sessions. However, he claims that Armes did not participate in any of the follow up sessions.

“Because Armes did not author any music or lyrics used in the Circles composition at the August 8, 2018 session, and because Armes was not even present for any of the subsequent sessions for the Circles Composition, it is incontrovertible that Armes made no such contribution to the Circles Composition,” Post’s lawsuit claims.

The rapper also claims that Armes has demanded that his record company cease all distribution and sales of “Circles”, as well as freezing royalties payable to the authors until the suit is resolved. Post is asking a judge to step in and to resolve the matter and to declare that Armes has no rights to the song.

“It is very disappointing that Post Malone and his team did not provide Tyler Armes with co-writing credit,” said Armes’ attorney Allison Hart in a statement.

“A number of witnesses will corroborate that Tyler co-wrote Circles. We expect to be fully vindicated when this matter is decided by the Court.”