Bob Dylan has sold his entire catalog of songs, which encompasses more than 600 songs over 60 years, in a “landmark agreement” with Universal Music Publishing Group.
The agreement between Dylan and the company was announced Monday. It’s a major shift for the singer and songwriter, who has controlled much of his own intellectual property according to multiple reports. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the New York Times says it’s estimated at more than $300 million.
“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 Universal Music Publishing Group CEO Jody Gerson in a statement.
“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,” added Sir Lucian Grainge, the CEO of Universal Music Group. “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.”
Music publishing has become increasingly lucrative in recent years, especially in light of the pandemic that has halted live performances. Last week, Stevie Nicks sold her catalog in a reported $100 million deal.
Dylan, 79, has numerous famous tracks, including “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Earlier this year, he released his first track in eight years called a “Murder Most Foul,” a 17-minute song about the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.
In 2008, he won a Pulitzer Prize special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
He’s sold more than 125 million records and continues to perform worldwide.