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Post Malone Settles ‘Circles’ Copyright Lawsuit to Avoid Trial

Last Updated: July 1, 2023

Post Malone settled a copyright lawsuit on Tuesday after a long battle with Tyler Armes, who claims having co-written the 2019 hit “Circles” but did not receive credit. The issue began in 2018 after Armes said he “spent hours in the studio jamming with Post and [Frank] Dukes and ultimately co-writing the song ‘Circles.’” 

According to Armes, he received a studio session invitation from Post Malone’s manager in August 2018, and the two collaborated on the hit song. Armes claims he played bass, Post played drums, and Dukes was on guitar and piano during the studio session.

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

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According to the legal documents, the songwriter reached out to confirm his compensation for the song, but Malone only offered 5% of publishing royalties. Armens proceeded to negotiate for a higher percentage but was told if he did not accept the offer, he wouldn’t receive payment at all. 

“It is very disappointing that Post Malone and his team did not provide Tyler Armes with co-writing credit,” Armes’ attorney Allison Hart told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

The official video for “Circles” has 255 million streams on YouTube

The suit was settled during jury selection but was set to feature witnesses playing instruments, and Malone was anticipated to testify on the stand. The case was consolidated before the four-day trial would have happened. 

Malone would have been represented by David A. Steinberg, Gabriella N. Ismaj, Christine Lepera, and Jeffrey M. Movit, whose law firm has defended stars like Katy Perry, Dua Lipa, Jay-Z, and more for similar cases.

“Armes admitted he had no control over whether any of his creative suggestions would be incorporated by Post and Dukes into the ‘Circles’ composition,” Malone’s lawyers wrote. “Armes’s contention that because he was present for one early session while Dukes and Post were creating the ‘Circles’ composition … and because he played some instruments there and offered some verbal musical suggestions, he is entitled to joint authorship, is simply incorrect under governing law.”

Though Malone’s legal issues were at the forefront, “Circles” remained on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks. The rapper claimed Armes was in the room that night but did not make any serious contributions to the song.