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Bob Dylan sells songwriting catalog to Universal Music Publishing for over $300 million

The company said it’s a ‘privilege and a responsibility’ to represent the artist’s works

Photo credit: Rowland Scherman - Wikimedia Commons
Bob Dylan has sold his entire songwriting catalog to Universal Music Publishing.

Universal hasn’t disclosed the terms of the agreement, but the New York Times reported that the deal was likely worth over $300 million. The catalog encompasses more than 600 copyrights from the past 60 years.

Dylan’s songs have been recorded by a myriad of other artists more than 6,000 times over the past six decades, according to Universal. Particularly popular recordings have included “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” 

Dylan, who is now 79, was the first songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 2016, the Swedish Academy credited Dylan with “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” 

Under the deal announced on Monday, Universal will collect money any time another musician covers any of Dylan’s songs or any time it allows the songs to be used in movies or commercials. It will also earn revenue any time the songs are streamed or sold commercially. 

In a statement, UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge called it a “privilege and a responsibility” to represent the work of “one of the greatest songwriters of all time.” Grainge added that Dylan’s “cultural importance” can’t be overstated. 

“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,” Grainge said. 

“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.”

Dylan has sold more than 125 million records worldwide. 

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