Bob Dylan always said he’d be there when the deal goes down. On Monday, Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to legend Bob Dylan’s entire songwriting catalogue in a likely record-breaking deal. The massive agreement includes more than 600 songs. The music spans from 1962’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” to “Murder Most Foul,” his Kennedy assassination epic released in good ol’ March 2020 from his latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. The catalogue was previously held by Sony//ATV Music Publishing. The sale is being lauded as “the most significant music publishing agreement” this century. It was made directly with Dylan, who controls his own copyrights.
According to the New York Times, the price is estimated at more than $300 million. He retains 100 percent rights for all the songs in his catalogue and Universal will collect all future income from the music. “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,” said Jody Gerson, the chief executive of Universal’s publishing division, in a statement. Dylan, naturally, had no comment. In 2016, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” and it took him about seven months to accept it, that’s how chill he is about all this. It’s been an incredible year for this Bob Dylan guy. In April, “Murder Most Foul,” his first song in eight years, earned him his first-ever Billboard No. 1, on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart. If he keeps it up, maybe soon he’ll land a TikTok hit.