Sam Smith Forced to Pay in ‘Stay With Me’ Copyright Dispute

If you sorta kinda thought that Sam Smith‘s Stay With Me sounded a bit like Tom Petty‘s 1989 classic I Won’t Back Down, you’re not the only one – Tom Petty’s people had a similar thought, and now Smith has to pay out royalties.

Per a report in The Sun, in information that is just now coming to light, the case quietly settled out of court this last October, with Smith agreeing to pay Petty and his co-writer Jeff Lynne 12.5% of the royalties from the track.
Smith’s people claim that, while he wasn’t previously familiar with I Won’t Back Down, he acknowledged “similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions”, and agreed to pay out amicably.
For the sake of comparison, here are the two tracks side by side:
Petty and Lynne are now credited as co-writers on the track, although it’s unclear whether they’ll be paid out retroactively (ouch), or just take a cut of future earnings on it.

Photo: Brad Barket via Getty Images