Tom Petty to Receive Writing Credit, Royalties from Sam Smith

Multitalented rock legend Tom Petty has been awarded songwriting credit and royalties from fresh-faced crooner Sam Smith‘s Grammy-nominated hit “Stay With Me,” following an amicable settlement, as reported by The Sun.

A settlement you may ask? Well, the suit was filed and settled out of court in October over a distinct and “coincidental” resemblance between Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1989 classic “I Won’t Back Down” and Smith’s “Stay With Me,” but the details came to light this weekend by The Sun.  Petty and his co-writer Jeff Lynne are reportedly due 12.5% of the royalties from the hit song now that the pair is listed as co-writers, according to Consequence of Sound and Rolling Stone.

In a statement, a representative for Smith told Rolling Stone:

“Recently the publishers for the song ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, contacted the publishers for ‘Stay With Me,’ written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips, about similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions. Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of ‘Stay With Me’ listened to ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and acknowledged the similarity. 

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.”

Aside from the coincidence, it is clear that Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne will not receive a Grammy if Smith’s nominated song or album wins.  Bill Freimuth Senior Vice President of Awards told the Wall Street Journal: “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.”  It is unclear, however, if Lynne and Petty will be compensated retroactively since the song’s release, or on future gains of the song.

What do you think about this settlement?  Listen to the two tracks below and you decide!

Featured Image by Flickr user musicisentropy.

1 Comment

  1. Lauren Silvestri

    January 27, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I guess maybe I see a faint resemblance, but not enough to warrant a songwriting credit.

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