Post Malone has reportedly settled a copyright lawsuit over his hit song Circles. The $40 million case was brought by musician Tyler Armes, alleging that he co-wrote the song but was denied credit and payment. The lawsuit centered around a 2018 recording session in which Tyler claims he co-created Circles with Post Malone. It is reported that the terms of the settlement agreement have not been disclosed to the public.
As the lawsuit was being settled as a jury was being selected, details regarding the terms of the settlement agreement have not yet been disclosed. The case showcases the complexities that can arise in music creation and the disputes that can arise from it, particularly when it comes to royalties. In the music industry, when a song becomes a runaway success, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise as individuals claim credit, and often unwarranted and unearned windfall profits from the song.
In keeping with this norm, Armes reached out to Frank Dukes, the producer, once Circles was released, and was reportedly offered only five percent in publishing royalties, according to the lawsuit filed against Post Malone. During the proceedings, Armes’s lawyers filed a motion seeking a declaration that he is a co-producer and co-writer on the song, and if granted, would have been entitled to retroactive and prospective royalties. The complaint also named Dre London, Post Malone's manager, who allegedly shut down negotiations for a higher share and threatened to withdraw the offer altogether.
Although the details of the settlement remain under wraps, the case highlights the complexities of the music industry when it comes to songwriting attribution and the legal disputes that ensue. While the judge ruled in April of this year that Armes did not claim authorship in the commercial release of the song but demonstrated genuine disputes regarding his authorship during the session composition, the lawsuit's settlement brings the issue to a close without going through the four-day trial, which would have featured witness performances. Despite this legal battle, Post Malone continues to be one of the music industry's leading artists, and Circles remained a chart-topping success, holding the top position on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. However, the recent settlement raises questions about how artists and musicians are acknowledged for their music and how it is shared in the industry.