the law

Sam Smith Has to Pay Royalties to Tom Petty for ‘Stay With Me’

Business partners! Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images, Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Remember when you thought that Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” sounded an awful lot like Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”? Well, you’re not alone. According to The Sun, the two parties settled out of court* this past October that the two songs are so much alike that Smith will start paying Petty (and fellow songwriter Jeff Lynne) royalties on the track — specifically, a 12.5 percent credit. A source told NME it was a pretty quick resolution: “When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks. After it was pointed out to Sam’s camp, they didn’t try to fight it and amicably dished out royalties. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, musicians are just inspired by other artists and Sam and his team were quick to hold up their hand when it was officially flagged.” Now every time you support Sam Smith, you’re also supporting Tom Petty, and that’s pretty cool. Hear the two songs below.

* This post originally read that the ruling was decided in court. It was not. 

Sam Smith Will Have to Pay Tom Petty Royalties