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Post Malone has settled a copyright suit from a musician alleging he co-wrote 2019 hit “Circles” but was denied credit and compensation, according to a court document filed on Tuesday.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The court was informed of the agreement during jury selection.
The suit revolved around an August 2018 recording session between plaintiff Tyler Armes, a member of Canadian rock band Down With Webster, and Austin Post, known as Post Malone. Armes said he co-wrote the keyboard chords and the guitar melody and had “significant input” on the bassline. Although the lyrics hadn’t been completed, he claimed all the instrumentation and vocal melodies in the song recorded that night are “note for note rhythmically and melodically identical” to the final version of the song.
After he reached out to producer Frank Dukes once the song was released, Armes was offered a five percent share of publishing royalties, according to the complaint filed in 2020 in California federal court. Dre London, Post’s manager, shut down negotiations for a higher share and threatened to withdraw the offer if it wasn’t accepted.
“I was beside him giving input,” Armes wrote in a text to London cited in the complaint. “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.”
In the suit, Armes moved for a declaration that he’s a co-writer and co-producer on “Circles.” He would’ve been entitled to retroactive and prospective royalties if the court agreed. The complaint also named Duke and Universal Music Group, which was dismissed as a defendant.
The trial was set to feature witnesses playing instruments on the stand. Post was also expected to testify during the four day trial.
In April, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright paved the way for trial after ruling that Armes has “no claim of authorship in the commercial release” of the song but that he “demonstrates genuine disputes in regard to his authorship in the session composition.”
The case was consolidated with a suit filed by Post in New York federal court. While Armes may have been present at the August 2018 recording sessions, Post argued that he didn’t write any of the music used in the finished song and wasn’t present at future recording sessions.
“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,” stated the complaint.
The song remained number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks.
Lawyers representing Post and Armes didn’t respond to requests for comment.
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