Post Malone Reaches Last-Minute Settlement to End ‘Circles’ Songwriting Lawsuit Without Trial
Minutes before a closely-watched trial was set to start, the star has reached a deal with a songwriter who says he helped create the hit song.
Post Malone has reached an apparent settlement with a musician who claims he helped create the smash hit “Circles,” ending a contentious lawsuit minutes before a jury trial was set to begin.
Tyler Armes sued in 2020 over allegations that he and Malone co-wrote the song during an all-night jam session in 2018, but that the superstar refused to give him credit. Malone strongly denied the allegations, and a hotly-anticipated trial was set to kick off Tuesday (March 21) in Los Angeles federal court.
But in an abrupt turn of events, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright indicated Tuesday morning that a settlement had been reached to avert trial.
Just before a jury was to be selected, the judge jokingly waved goodbye to assembled media and cleared the courtroom. Staffers could later been seen removing musical equipment from the courtroom that had been prepared for the pending trial, and Armes himself was eventually seen leaving. A deputy court clerk later confirmed to Billboard a settlement had been reached.
The terms of the agreement have not been publicly disclosed, and neither side’s attorneys immediately returned a request for comment.
Armes, best known as a member of the Canadian rap-rock band Down With Webster, sued Malone in 2020, claiming he had played a key role (along with Malone and collaborator Frank Dukes) during an August 2018 all-nighter that led to the creation of “Circles.” That allegation was no small thing, because the song was eventually a smash hit, spending three weeks atop the Hot 100 and ultimately spending 61 weeks on the chart.
After “Circles” was released and Armes reached out to complain, he claimed that Malone offered to give him a 5% share of the publishing royalties. But when he tried to negotiate for a better deal, he says the star’s people revoked the offer and refused to give him anything.
Malone (real name Austin Richard Post) strongly denied the allegations, arguing that Armes “did not write or author any portion of the ‘Circles’ composition” and that he was simply trying to get an undeserved cut from a lucrative song.
“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 to falsely claim to take credit for the song, and demand unwarranted and unearned windfall profits from the song,” Post’s lawyers wrote. “This lawsuit arises from such a story.”
Last year, Judge Wright refused to dismiss Armes’ allegations, ruling that he might ultimately be able to persuade a jury that he deserved to own a piece of “Circles.” If the jury believed Armes, the judge said, they could find that Malone, Dukes and Armes “shared equal control in the session, making nonhierarchical contributions to a unitary whole.”
That set the stage for a trial set to kick off on Tuesday, which had been expected to run through the end of the week.