Post Malone disputes claim made by songwriter suing him over ‘Circles’ contribution

He claims Tyler Armes only contributed an "extremely commonplace" chord progression to the 2019 hit

Post Malone has disputed claims made by a songwriter who is suing him over his 2019 hit ‘Circles’.

Tyler Armes filed a federal lawsuit in California in April 2020, listing Post (real name Austin Post), Post’s producer Frank Dukes and Universal Music Group as defendants, and claims he is seeking co-writer and co-producer credits, as well as prospective and retroactive royalties and other money owed from the ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ track.

On the same day, Post filed his own suit, with the rapper asking a New York Federal Judge to rule that Armes has no claim to the song’s copyright and did not participate in writing it.

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“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.

Post Malone X Magic: The Gathering Credit: Wizards Of The Coast
Post Malone X Magic: The Gathering. CREDIT: Wizards Of The Coast

In a new court filing (via Rolling Stone), Post claims that Armes did not contribute anything “original” to the song, just “an admittedly extremely commonplace guitar chord progression,” and potentially a “fragment of a guitar melody that Armes claims he sung to Post”. Armes claims he was initially offered five per cent of the song’s royalties for his work on ‘Circles’, but that was removed when he tried to negotiate a bigger cut.

Post’s new court documents read: “Armes admitted that his contributions did not even rise to the level of originality, which is also required in addition to the fixation requirement. He either conceded that his ideas were commonplace musical devices or failed to meet his burden to demonstrate any originality otherwise. Armes thus cannot even establish the threshold requirement that he made a copyrightable contribution.”

It added: “Armes does not have a shred of affirmative evidence with which to meet his burden of proof that his alleged contribution to the guitar melody is original,” and Post is asking the judge to dismiss Armes’ lawsuit and conclude that he is “not a joint author” of the song.

In response, Armes’ lawyer Allison Hart told Rolling Stone: “We believe that the motion for summary judgment is a desperate attempt by Post Malone and Frank Dukes to try to avoid a trial in this action. We are confident that we will prevail in defeating the motion and look forward to going before a jury.”

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At the start of 2022, Post’s manager claimed the rapper’s next album was being delayed by his label, Republic Records. “Album has been done!! We Ready!!” Dre London wrote on Instagram. “But seems @republicrecords @universalmusicgroup isn’t.” He encouraged Post’s fans to “hit [the label] up” with their queries about when the album was arriving.

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