SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Tom Petty and rock composer Jeff Lyne of Electric Light Ochestra settled out of court with Grammy nominee Sam Smith for 12.5 percent of the royalties to Smith's single "Stay With Me" due to the chart-topper's melodic similarity to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1989 classic "I Won't Back Down."
On Thursday, Petty released a statement on his website in which he called the similarity, "A musical accident, no more no less."
The similarities between the songs -- specifically the melody of their respective choruses -- were frequently noted after the release of "Stay With Me," with numerous pianists, guitarists and mashup artists showcasing how well the songs fit together on YouTube and social media.
"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," a spokesman for Smith confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Both sides contend the discussions were handled diplomatically and ended amicably and with mutual appreciation.
"I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam," Petty said of how the coincidence and settlement were handled.
"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."
British tabloid The Sun, which originally broke the news of the settlement, reported an agreement was reached between the parties in October, but the details only now became public.
"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," Smith's representative added.
"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 [better known as Jimmy Napes] and William Phillips."
It remains unclear why the story became public now, months after an agreement was reached.
"How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself," Petty noted.
"Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this ... In these times we live in this is hardly news."
Smith's debut album In the Lonely Hour, published by Capital Records of Universal Music Group, was the only record to go platinum in 2014 in both the United States and United Kingdom.