Bob Dylan Sells His Entire Catalog to Universal Music Publishing

The deal includes more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performs as part of a double bill with Neil Young at Hyde Park on July 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for ABA)
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Bob Dylan is officially cashing out: the legendary 79-year-old musician has sold his entire catalog of songs — more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years — to Universal Music Publishing Group.

There’s no word on exactly how much money the company spent to land Dylan’s catalog, but it’s safe to assume it was a massive amount. Just last week, 80 percent of Stevie Nicks’ publishing catalog was acquired by Primary Wave for $100 million, and it’s safe to assume Dylan’s would net a much higher price. Citing an anonymous source, Variety reports that the deal was “easily in nine figures.”

“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,” Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO Jody Gerson said in a statement. “The UMPG global team is honored to be Bob Dylan’s publishing partner, and I especially want to acknowledge [COO] 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.”

UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge issued a statement of his own, writing, “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.”

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