Sam Smith to Pay Tom Petty Songwriting Royalties for Stay With Me

Posted on January 28, 2015

Cover of Sam Smith's album In The Lonely Hour

Grammy nominated singer Sam Smith has agreed to pay songwriting royalties to Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne for his hit song, "Stay With Me." Petty and Lynne have also been given songwriting credits. "Stay With Me" is on Smith's album, In the Lonely Hour. The single has sold nearly 3.5 million copies in the U.S.

Petty's team contacted Smith over similarities between "Stay With Me" and "I Won't Back Down." An out of court settlement between Petty, Lynne and Smith was made last year but was only recently reported. Smith and Lynne are now listed as co-writers of the song and they get a 12.5% songwriting credit for songwriting royalties. Smith reportedly did not try to fight the sharing of royalties when the similarities between the songs were pointed out to him.

Smith's rep told Rolling Stone that the likeness of the two hit songs is a "complete coincidence." Smith's rep says, "Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of 'Stay With Me' along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips."

"Stay With Me" is nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. CNN reports that Lynne and Petty won't be eligible for a Grammy if the song wins. Bill Freimuth, Senior Vice President, Grammy Awards, tells CNN, "Lynne and Petty will not be considered nominees nor will they be considered Grammy recipients, should the song win. Rather, they would be given certificates to honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work."

Sam Smith is also nominated for Best New Artist. He is up against Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Brandy Clark and Haim. If voting has not yet been completed it is possible the news could taint his chances to win the award. However, since Smith quickly settled the matter it probably won't impact the voting. Smith is also up for Album of the Year. If he wins this Grammy he has already vowed to give it to Beyonce, but not because of the Tom Petty incident. Smith says Beyonce "deserves it way more than I do."

Here is Smith's "Stay With Me" music video which has garnered over 217 million views on YouTube. You can compare it to Petty's "I Won't Back Down" single here.

Photo: Capitol Records

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