MANHATTAN (CN) — Rapper and singer Post Malone filed a federal copyright lawsuit Tuesday in Manhattan to extinguish claims filed earlier in the day in Los Angeles by a Canadian musician who says he’s been denied credits for playing on an all-night jam session that birthed the 2019 hit pop song “Circles.”
Since debuting during the “Bud Light Dive Bar Tour” in August 2019, the music video for Post Malone’s song has amassed more than 200 million views on YouTube and was one of the songs the face-tattooed Texan performed in a pink sparkly suit during his headlining set during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show in Times Square.
The 24-year singer and rapper, whose real name is Austin Richard Post, has since refused to credit Canadian musician Tyler Armes as a co-writer of “Circles” and deprived the collaborator of his share of royalties, according to a 17-page federal complaint Armes brought Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.
“Although Post has freely admitted that Armes co-wrote Circles with him and Dukes during the August 2018 session at Dukes’ studio, Post and Dukes have refused to credit Armes as a co-writer and have refused to pay Armes a fair share of the monies derived from the exploitation of ‘Circles,’” Armes alleges in his complaint.
Armes claims he was invited by Post’s manager, Dre London, to join on an overnight recording session on Aug. 8, 2018, with the rhinestone-bedecked singer and his producer Frank Dukes at Dukes’ Toronto studio.
Working in the studio from 2 a.m. past sunrise, Armes says he played bass during the jam, with Post on drums and Dukes playing guitar and keyboards.
He alleges in the lawsuit that he co-wrote chords on the keyboard that had significant input in the bassline for “Circles.” Armes also claims to have co-written the guitar melody played in the introduction and looped throughout the song.
Armes previously played with the Toronto rock/rap group Down With Webster, which dissolved in 2017.
“When Post found out that Armes was a talented multi-instrumental musician, he was excited and said, ‘let’s write a tune!’,” the complaint states. “Armes spent hours in the studio jamming with Post and Dukes and ultimately co-writing the song ‘Circles’.”
A year later, Armes celebrated the song’s release in an August 2019 Instagram post. “Honored to have worked on this incredible song ‘Circles’ with @postmalone and @frankdukes,” the post states. “We Jammed on different instruments for a few hours and built the beat. Post laid down the rough vocals a few hours after, we knew immediately it was a special song and a whole new vibe! Crazy energy in the room!”
Around the same time, Armes says that Post Malone’s manager balked at his requests for fair credit and compensation for playing on the song’s instrumental.
“Instead, Austin Rosen, who manages both Post and Dukes, threatened Armes’ manager, Cory Litwin, that if Armes was unwilling to accept Post’s so-called ‘gift’ of five percent of the publishing, then he would get nothing – no credit and no publishing royalties,” the lawsuit states.
Armes seeks credits as co-writer and co-producer, along with prospective and retroactive royalties and other money owed with respect to his interest in the song. He is represented by Allison Hart of Lavely & Singer.
Represented by attorney Christine Lepera from Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, Post Malone filed his own lawsuit in Manhattan federal court Tuesday afternoon, which asserts that while Armes was present for that overnight recording session, he did not write any of the music or lyrics that later became “Circles.”
“Armes did not author any music or lyrics used in the Circles composition at the August 8, 2018 session, and because Armes was not even present for any of the subsequent sessions for the Circles composition, it is incontrovertible that Armes made no contribution whatsoever to the Circles composition,” Post Malone’s complaint says.
Responding to the singer’s New York lawsuit on Tuesday afternoon, Armes’ attorney told Courthouse News: “It is very disappointing that Post Malone and his team did not provide Tyler Armes with co-writing credit. 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,” Hart said.