And just when you thought 2020 couldn’t throw up any more surprises Bob Dylan has become a complete sell-out. Dylan has sold the publishing rights to his songwriting catalogue in a deal said to be worth around $300 million to Universal Music.
Dylan, one of the most consistent touring artists of the last 40 years, would not be short on cash so why he would need at extra $300m at age 79 remains a complete mystery.
While the exact deal has not be revealed the estimate is that the $300m figure is accurate.
UMPG Chairman & CEO Jody Gerson announced, “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. The UMPG global team is honored to be Bob Dylan’s publishing partner and I especially want to acknowledge Marc Cimino whose passion and perseverance were instrumental in bringing this opportunity to us. We look forward to working with Bob and the team in ensuring his artistry continues to reach and inspire generations of fans, recording artists and songwriters around the world.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “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.”
The Dylan catalogue dates back to songs from his debut album from 1962 which featured surprisingly only two Dylan penned songs ‘Song For Woody’ and ‘Talkin’ New York’. However the second album in 1963 ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ featured ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, ‘Masters of War’, ‘A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall’, ‘Girl From The North Country’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice Its All Right’.
In 1963 Dylan’s third album was ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ with the anthemic title track.
The Universal deal features hundreds of songs, many considered works or art that will increase in value of the centuries.
Universal Music Publishing controls music catalogues from ABBA, Adele, Jhené Aiko, Alabama Shakes, Alex Da Kid, Axwell & Ingrosso, J Balvin, Bastille, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Bee Gees, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Jeff Bhasker, Justin Bieber, Benny Blanco, Chris Brown, Kane Brown, Mariah Carey, Brandi Carlile, Michael Chabon, Kenny Chesney, Desmond Child, The Clash, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, DaBaby, Jason Derulo, Alexandre Desplat, Neil Diamond, Disclosure, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Danny Elfman, Eminem, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Florence + the Machine, Future, Martin Garrix, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Al Green, Josh Groban, Halsey, Emile Haynie, Jimi Hendrix, Don Henley, H.E.R., Sam Hunt, Imagine Dragons, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tobias Jesso Jr., Billy Joel, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Baby, Lil Mosey, Lil Yachty, Linkin Park, Logic, Demi Lovato, the Mamas & the Papas, Steve Mac, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Megan Thee Stallion, Shawn Mendes, Metallica, Metro Boomin, Miguel, Nicki Minaj, Maren Morris, Mumford & Sons, Randy Newman, New Order, Ne-Yo, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Quavo, Otis Redding, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rex Orange County, Rosalía, Carole Bayer Sager, Gustavo Santaolalla, Sex Pistols, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, Stax (East Memphis Music), Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, SZA, Shania Twain, Justin Timberlake, U2, Keith Urban, Troy Verges, Jack White, Zedd and many more.