Inarguably one of America’s greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan, has sold his entire catalog to the Universal Music Group, the record company announced on Monday.
Bob Dylan, now 79, is a Nobel Prize, winning songwriter and is considered one of the greatest treasures in the music industry. His songs became anthems of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.
The song catalog he sold to Universal is a collection of more than 600 of Dylan’s copyrighted songs written over nearly 60 years.
This includes modern standards like “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Forever Young” through to this year’s 17-minute opus on the Kennedy assassination, “Murder Most Foul”.
The price of the deal was not disclosed, but industry experts suggested the sale is in the range of $300 million to a half-billion dollars.
The sale gives Universal the right to lease use of Dylan’s competitions to advertisers and movie, television or video game producers.
Universal Music Publishing Group chairman and CEO Jody Gerson 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. 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.”
“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 the art,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group.
Bob Dylan’s songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times by an array of artists representing dozens of countries, cultures and music genres.
Some of this best known works include the aforementioned “Blowin’ in the Wind” and the Academy Award-winning “Things Have Changed”.
In the decades since he was first launched into the music scene, Bob Dylan sold more than 125 million records around the world and amassed as singular body of work that includes some of the greatest and most popular songs the world has ever known.
He continues to travel around the world each year, performing nearly 100 concerts annually in front of audiences that have made his songs their lives’ anthem.
Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 – the first songwriter to receive such – for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Dylan’s made an indelible mark in the music industry by blending folk music with rock and roll and poetry.