Sam Smith Ordered to Pay Royalties to Tom Petty for ‘Stay With Me’
Reports have brought to light that pop singer Sam Smith has been court ordered to pay royalties to Tom Petty for the British crooner's international smash hit, 'Stay With Me,' as it bears heavy similarities to Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's 1989 single, 'I Won't Back Down.' (Dare we say, how "petty" of him?)
You can compare the two tracks below and see if you hear the connection.
According to the Sun, Smith and Petty settled out of court back in October, a decision which rendered a 12.5-percent royalty payment to both Petty and the original song's singer-composer Jeff Lynne. Smith, Petty, Lynne and Jimmy Napes are now all listed as the chief songwriters for 'Stay With Me' by the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
"When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks," says an NME source near to the case. "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."
It might not seem honorable for an artist to make money this way, but if a musician's work is truly stolen, it only seems right that they are compensated accordingly. To top it all off -- at least in our headphones -- 'Stay With Me' sounds even more similar to John Legend's 'Stay With You.'
So was the song stolen, or is it just similar? If all this conversation focuses on is similarity, Petty's undertaking is kind of like a kid telling his grade school teacher that his classmate copied him. Feel free to weigh in in the comments section and let us know where you stand on this issue.
Hear Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me'
Hear Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's 'I Won't Back Down'