Post Malone’s ‘Circles’ spurs legal battle after songwriter claims he co-wrote it

Post Malone performs in Times Square on New Year's Eve in New York City. CP Images Archive

Sparked by his 2019 smash-hit Circles, Post Malone has been caught in the midst of a legal battle with Canadian songwriter Tyler Armes, who claims he co-wrote the chart-topping track.

Armes sued the American rapper in a California federal court on Tuesday, seeking a declaration that he’s not only a co-writer of Circles, but a co-producer as well. With that, his attorneys have alleged that he is entitled to both “credit” and a “share of the profits,” according to legal documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter (THR).

Circles was released on Aug. 30, 2019, as a single, only a week before Malone released his critically acclaimed sophomore album, Hollywood’s Bleeding.

As well as Malone, 24, producer Frank Dukes and record label Universal Music Group (UMG), were sued by Armes’s team, too.

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Republic Records distributed the record through UMG while Dukes produced four of its other songs, including A Thousand Bad Times and Staring at the Sun — which features SZA.

A mere few hours after being sued, Malone — born Austin Post — fired back at Armes with his own lawsuit, claiming that the songwriter played no part in helping create the No. 1 Billboard 100 single.

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In the comeback suit — filed in New York City and also obtained by THR — Malone’s lawyers rejected Armes’s “false claim,” writing that he “did not author any portion of the Circles composition.”

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Inexplicably referring to a myriad of other recent, controversial legal battles in the music industry — including Led Zeppelin‘s and Katy Perry‘s recent victories — the legal document suggested that Armes had simply “come out of the woodwork” in an attempt to profit from the “runaway success” of Circles by claiming it as his own.

“It is an age-old story in the music business,” wrote Malone’s team.

They continued: “Armes’s claim and demand are utterly baseless. … He is not entitled to any of the revenue from Circles.

Armes, on the other hand, included a copy of a copyright certificate he claimed for on Circles back in 2018.

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In the legal document, the Toronto-based songwriter’s attorneys claimed that Malone has “initially offered to give Armes a five per cent share of the publishing royalties” to Circles.

Armes supposedly attempted to re-negotiate with the Sunflower hit-maker in order to get a bigger cut that would “more fairly reflect his significant contributions to the song.”

“Defendants refused,” the suit states. “Instead, Austin Rosen, who manages both Post and Dukes, threatened Armes’ manager, Cory Litwin, that if Armes was unwilling to accept Post’s so-called ‘gift’ of five per cent of the publishing, then he would get nothing — no credit and no publishing royalties.”

Despite claiming he helped write a portion of the bassline on Circles, one of Malone’s lawyers, Christine Lepera, wrote that Armes was not even present at the recording session back in August 2018, re-iterating that he “did not author” any portion of Circles.

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“It is very disappointing that Post Malone and his team did not provide Tyler Armes with co-writing credit,” Allison Hart, an attorney for Armes, told Global News on Wednesday. “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,” she concluded.

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Malone and his team have demanded “a trial by jury” to settle the legal battle.

Additionally, the rapper wants the court to declare that Armes played no part in authoring Circles and that his copyright claim is invalid.

Post Malone in the ‘Saint-Tropez’ music video, from the highly-anticipated album, ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ (2019). Republic Records

Global News has reached out to Malone’s attorneys seeking further comment.

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Circles and Hollywood’s Bleeding is now available through all major streaming platforms.

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