The folk legend has sold his songs to UMG (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for ABA)
Bob Dylan has sold his entire back catalogue for an estimated $300 million.
The agreement with Universal Music Group – one of the largest in recent years – covers the copyrights to some 600 of the 79-year-old US musician’s tracks spanning his six-decade career, including the likes of Blowin’ In The Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin’.
It is understood that the iconic catalogue – which also features more recent material like this year’s Murder Most Foul – was acquired from the artist himself.
In recent years the catalogue has been administered by Universal rival Sony/ATV outside the US and by Dylan’s own operations inside it.
The news follows recent high-profile signings to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) including Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone.
Emerging from New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960s, Dylan became a counter-cultural figure with the release of a series of political anthems.
Legendary folk star Dylan was the first songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, with the Swedish academy crediting him with ‘having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’.
His songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times with artists as varied as The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and Adele finding both commercial and critical success with covers.
To date, he’s sold more than 125 million records globally and won a best original song Oscar in 2001 for Things Have Changed, which he penned for the film Wonder Boys.
Everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Adele has covered Dylan’s tracks (Credits: MARC SHARRATT / Rex Features)
UMPG – which is based in Los Angeles – is among the world’s largest publishing companies and represents songwriters with their back catalogue including Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Adele, Abba, Coldplay and The Clash.
Jody Gerson, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group’s publishing division, 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 honoured 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.’
UMG is delighted with the acquisition (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) Photographer: Michael Ochs Archives Source: Michael Ochs Archives
Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, added: ‘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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