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Lawyers rule songs sound similar

Smith must pay royalties to Petty and Lynne for hit song Stay With Me

Sam SmithLawyers have been busy in the US resolving a dispute over young pop star Sam Smith’s hit song Stay With Me because of similarities with the 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

And after living up to the name of their song, they appear to have won the day. Smith will now have to pay royalties to the pair.

A statement from Smith’s lawyers said: “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.”

It seems that when Smith’s single came out, many listeners drew comparisons between the two tracks with a similar song structure. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne and Jimmy Napes as chief songwriters of the song.

While news of the agreement has just emerged, Smith and Petty settled out of court in October – an arrangement that included a 12.5% writing credit to both Petty and singer-composer Jeff Lynne.

Stay With Me has sold almost four million copies worldwide and has been nominated at the forthcoming Grammys for Best Pop Performance and Record of the Year.

First released last April, the third single off of Smith’s album In The Lonely Hour reached No. 2 on the U.S.Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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