Bob Dylan’s library of music could go up against anybody’s. Under his belt, he has legendary singles like “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Like A Rolling Stone” and albums like Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. Even his latest album, this year’s Rough And Rowdy Ways, has received overwhelmingly positive critical reception. Now, all of that music has a new owner, as Bob Dylan has sold the publishing rights of his song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMG) in a huge new deal.
The sale includes over 600 copyrights that span about 60 years, with features material ranging from 1962’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” to this year’s “Murder Most Foul.” Variety reports that while the terms of the deal were not disclosed, a source told the publication the deal “was easily in nine figures,” which isn’t a huge leap to make considering 80 percent of Stevie Nicks’ catalog sold for about $100 million within the past week. Variety speculates the Dylan deal “probably drew a number well above that.” For additional context, Taylor Swift’s Big Machine master recordings sold recently for $300 million.
UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement, “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.”
Aside from Grainge, Dylan has also received praise recently from Paul McCartney, Barack Obama, and Uproxx’s Steven Hyden; See where Rough And Rowdy Ways ranks on Hyden’s list of favorite 2020 albums here.