The $300-million deal encompasses the musician's 600 songs.
Bob Dylan, the titan of American songwriting, has sold his entire musical catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group. The deal, which The New York Times reported on Monday, is believed to be worth over $300 million and covers the artist's 600+ songs, ranging from "Tangled Up in Blue" to "Highway 61 Revisited." Though the corporation has not revealed the dollar-amount, the agreement may very well be the biggest ever secured for a single figure.
“As someone who began his career in music publishing, it is with enormous pride that today we welcome Bob Dylan to the UMG family," said UMPG CEO and Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge in a press release. "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."
The acquisition will grant Universal the right to accrue revenue for songs when used in commercial contexts, like films and commercials, as well as cover versions of songs performed by other artists. Considering the prolific musician has been covered a whopping 6,000 times (Wikipedia even has an entire page dedicated to it) the contract will undoubtedly prove to be a lucrative one.
It's with great honor we welcome @BobDylan to the UMPG family.— Universal Music Publishing Group (@UMPG) December 7, 2020
We look forward to working with Bob & the team in ensuring his artistry continues to reach and inspire generations of fans, recording artists & songwriters around the world.
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“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, UMPG Chairman, and CEO. "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.”
Since his debut in the 1960s, Dylan has remained an enduring force in the music industry and cultural consciousness at large. Throughout his multi-decade career, he's sold 125 million albums and released 39 studio records, with his most recent being 2020's Rough and Rowdy Ways. In 2016, he became the first songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, who the Academy recognized "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
As one of the 20th century's most significant artists, the corporation aims to preserve Dylan's legacy for future generations.
"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," Grainge said.
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