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Post Malone sued by uncredited collaborator on 2019 hit Circles

By | Published on Wednesday 8 April 2020

Post Malone

Post Malone has been sued by a former collaborator who claims he co-wrote the rapper’s 2019 hit ‘Circles’ but was denied a credit and royalties after a dispute over what share of the copyright he should receive.

Tyler Armes – a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and member of Canadian rap rock outfit Down With Webster – says that he ended up “jamming” in the studio with Malone in August 2018 after an invite from the rapper’s manager Dre London.

According to Armes’ lawsuit, that resulted in an all-night studio session involving him, Malone and producer Frank Dukes. And, “when Post found out that Armes was a talented multi-instrumental musician, he was excited and said, ‘let’s write a tune!'”

That collaborative tune writing, Armes claims, resulted in ‘Circles’. Along the way he co-wrote the chords, bassline and guitar melody of what became the 2019 hit. “At the end of the session that morning, Dukes played back the recording for Armes and Post, and the three of them were THRILLED with the results of their collaboration”, says the lawsuit.

So THRILLED was Dukes, the lawsuit adds, that he exclaimed, “It’s so fucking good! It’s a whole new sound, man”. Post chipped in, “It’s super special” and “that’s gonna be the next… we’re just gonna, for the next album, we’re just gonna use a fuck load of reverb”. Dukes then added for good measure that “this kind of track would be insane to play live”.

So, like the lawsuit says, everyone was THRILLED. Though, I think it’s fair to say, Armes was less THRILLED when the song was debuted on Instagram and at a New York show a year later and a good old-fashioned copyright dispute began.

With no agreement in place about the music created on that August night in 2018, once the track was out there Armes contacted London, stressing his involvement in the creation of the song that was now being released.

“Specifically the bass and guitar parts, Post ended up tracking them after I was playing”, he wrote. “I was beside him giving input on both of them. I was not just someone hanging out in the room, I’m a writer/producer in the room with two other writer/producers working on a song”.

According to the lawsuit, Malone initially conceded that Armes had had an involvement in the creation of ‘Circles’. To that end, Armes was offered a 5% share in the song. But, believing that he deserved more, he pushed back for a better deal.

“Armes attempted to negotiate to receive a larger percentage of the royalties that more fairly reflected his significant contributions to the song”, the legal papers go on, “and one of his representatives requested that he be credited as a co-writer and co-producer of the song while they attempted to reach an agreement on Armes’ share of the publishing royalties”.

Team Malone seemingly refused. Then, it’s alleged, Austin Rosen – who manages Dukes and co-manages Malone – “threatened Armes’ manager, Cory Litwin, that if Armes was unwilling to accept Post’s so-called ‘gift’ of 5% of the publishing, then he would get nothing – no credit and no publishing royalties”.

“Thus”, the lawsuit adds, “defendants have retaliated and attempted to punish Armes for not accepting their low-ball offer on the publishing royalties by refusing to credit Armes as a co-writer and co-producer of the song, notwithstanding the fact that Post has acknowledged that Armes co-wrote the song”.

The lawsuit filed in the Californian courts wants the judge to confirm Armes’ co-writer status on ‘Circles’ and secure him a share of the copyright and lots of lovely royalties. Team Malone is yet to respond.