Bob Dylan has sold his 600-song-strong catalogue to Universal Music in one of the biggest publishing deals in the history of the music industry.
The songs sold include early hits such as Blowin’ In The Wind, Like A Rolling Stone and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, all the way up to the songs found on Rough And Rowdy Ways, his latest album. The financial details of the deal were not made public but The New York Times estimated it to be worth over $300 million. It was signed directly with Dylan, who has until now controlled most of his songs’ copyrights directly.
The deal includes all of the rights for all of Dylan’s songs, including both the income he receives as a songwriter and his control of each song’s copyright. In exchange for this, Universal will collect all future income from the songs.
Dylan’s catalogue is one of the most desirable for any publishing company. His songs have been covered by thousands of artists (6,000 cover versions of Dylan songs exist, according to Universal), which means continuous royalties. Most of them were also written by Dylan alone.
Lucian Grainge, the chief executive of the Universal Music Group, said in a statement: “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.”
Jody Gerson, chief executive of Universal’s publishing division, also said: “To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time – whose cultural importance can’t be overstated – is both a privilege and a responsibility.”
A spokesperson also said that Dylan himself had no comment.
For more music news, click here.