Bob Dylan sells complete songwriting catalogue for huge sum

Image Credit: Brett Jordan 

In what could be the biggest music publishing deal ever, legendary musician Bob Dylan has sold the rights to all his songs to Universal Music.

Apparently worth over $300 million, the sale of Dylan’s music has been described as the most important publishing deal in decades. The 79-year-old’s catalogue includes 600 songs released over a period of 60 years.

Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company, will collect all future income from the tracks. The songs, which include Mr. Tambourine Man and Blowin’ In The Wind, were previously represented by Sony/ATV. Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO and Chairman of Universal Music Group, stated:

As someone who began his career in music publishing, it is with enormous pride that today we welcome Bob Dylan to the UMG family. It’s no secret that the art of songwriting is the fundamental key to all great music, nor is it a secret that Bob is one of the very greatest practitioners of that art. Brilliant and moving, inspiring and beautiful, insightful and provocative, his songs are timeless – whether they were written more than half a century ago or yesterday. It is no exaggeration to say that his vast body of work has captured the love and admiration of billions of people all around the world. I have no doubt that decades, even centuries from now, the words and music of Bob Dylan will continue to be sung and played – and cherished – everywhere

Sir Lucian Grainge

Music catalogue sales are booming, a safe investment during the otherwise unstable market during the Covid-19 pandemic. In November the master rights to Taylor Swift’s albums were sold by Scooter Braun to investment fund Shamrock Holdings for an estimated $300m-450m.

The deal doesn’t cover any songs Dylan might release from now on. Earlier this year Dylan’s most recent track, ‘Murder Most Foul’, a 17-minute ballad telling the story of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, earned him his first-ever US number one.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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