Earlier this week, The Sun learned that Sam Smith would pay Tom Petty royalties for "Stay With Me," which contains similar notes, chords, rhythms and pitches to Petty's classic track, "I Won't Back Down." Petty released a statement on his website, noting that he has "never had any hard feelings toward Sam," and that the two artists never used the word "lawsuit" when discussing the mishap:
About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all.
Smith's camp spoke to Rolling Stone earlier this week, acknowledging the similarities between the songs. They also confirmed that "Stay With Me" is now co-credited to Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, who wrote "I Won't Back Down." At the time, they called the likeness "a complete coincidence."