Sam Smith forced to pay Tom Petty royalties for song ‘Stay With Me’

Listeners noted resemblance between 'Stay With Me' and Petty's 'I Won't Back Down'

Sam Smith is paying Tom Petty songwriting royalties for his single ‘Stay With Me’ after listeners noted a similarity between the song and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ 1989 classic ‘I Won’t Back Down’.

Though details of the case have just come to light, The Sun reports that Smith and Petty settled out of court in October – an arrangement that included a 12.5 per cent writing credit to both Petty and singer-composer Jeff Lynne.

The song’s credit on ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, and Jimmy Napes as the chief songwriters.


A source close to the case said: “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.”

‘Stay With Me’ has sold nearly four million copies worldwide and is up for both Best Pop Performance and Record Of The Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Sam Smith was the only artist to sell one million albums in the UK and US in 2014 with his debut record, ‘In The Lonely Hour’.

Stream both songs below, now.