Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Tom Petty wins songwriting royalties, but does it make sense?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tom Petty wins songwriting royalties, but does it make sense?

 Currently trending is an article about Tom Petty winning songwriting royalties against a contemporary artist named "Sam Smith." The song called "Stay with me" which I obviously hadn't heard until now. With a constant loop of rock music and facts circulating through my head at all times; I am definitely bias when it comes to being able to hear rock influence in new songs. So I just had to hear this song to see if I heard it too, which I assumed I would. 

Sam Smith "Stay with me"

Tom Petty "I wont back down"

 Only after listening to certain parts of Sam Smith's song several times do I hear any similarities. The beat is similar, but slowed down throughout the song. It feels like a stretch to call this a straight reference to Tom Petty's tune. I think this is getting carried away. And I'll tell ya why. 
  • The song’s credit on ASCAP — that’s the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers —now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, and Jimmy Napes as the chief songwriters. 
 So because the song sounds similar, you now get to put your name in the song writing credits? Let's get real for a sec, if we're going to do that for every song that sounds like another we're back dated on a LOT of music. I can literally list all the songs that are much more clearly ripping off/referencing a popular song that people seemed to have little or no problem with:

  • Green Day "Warning" The Kinks "Picture Book"
  • KD Lang "Constant Craving" Rolling Stones "Anybody seen my baby"
  • One Direction "Best song ever" The Who "Baby O'Reilly"
  • Lady Gaga "Alejandro" Ace of Base "Don't turn around"
  • Robin Thicke "Blurred lines" Marvin Gaye "Got to give it up"
  • Most rap songs that sample old rock music
  • Ice ice baby, anyone? 
  • We could be here all day. 

Songs sounding like other songs is nothing new, classic rock songs are no exception. I'm starting to wonder if this is more of a case of Tom Petty having some pretty damn good lawyers who saw an opportunity. This is knit picking. This is completely coincidental and pretty damn subjective. What do you think?


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