Universal Music purchased DYLON entire songwriting catalog of more than 600 songs in what may be the biggest acquisition ever of a single act’s publishing rights.
Business- December 7, 2020
Bob Dylan’s memoir “Chronicles: Volume One” opens in 1962 with the signing of his first music publishing deal — a contract for the copyrights of the budding songwriter’s work. The terms of that agreement, brokered by Lou Levy of Leeds Music Publishing, met young Dylan’s approval.
“Lou had advanced me a hundred dollars against future royalties to sign the paper,” he wrote, “and that was fine with me.”
Fifty-eight years, more than 600 songs and one Nobel Prize later, the cultural and economic value of Dylan’s songwriting corpus have both grown exponentially.
On Monday, the Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it had signed a landmark deal to purchase Dylan’s entire songwriting catalog — including world-changing classics like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and “Like a Rolling Stone” — in what may be the biggest acquisition ever of the music publishing rights of a single act.
The deal, which covers Dylan’s entire career, from his earliest songs to the tunes on his latest album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways,”was struck directly with Dylan, who has long controlled the majority of his own songwriting copyrights.
The price was not disclosed, but is estimated at more than $300 million.
“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,” Lucian Grainge, the chief executive of the Universal Music Group, said in a statement announcing the deal.
Jody Gerson, the chief executive of Universal’s publishing division, added, “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.”
Dylan had no comment, a spokesman said. (NYT).