NEW YORK - The American singer Bob Dylan sold his entire songwriting catalogue to Universal Music, in what may be the biggest acquisition ever of a single act’s publishing rights.
On Monday, the Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it had signed a landmark deal to purchase Dylan’s entire songwriting catalogue of over 600 songs — 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 price was not disclosed, but is estimated at more than $300 million.
The deal is the latest and most high-profile in this year’s buzzing market for music catalogs, as artists both young and old have sold their songs, while publishers and investors have raised billions of dollars from both public and private sources to close those deals.
Dylan’s catalog, however, is one of the music world’s ultimate jewels — a trove of songs that reshaped folk, rock and pop and inspired countless artists. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Dylan is also the kind of writer whose work music publishers especially salivate over. Not only has his work stood the test of time, but most of his songs were written by Dylan alone and have been frequently covered by other artists — with each use generating royalties. According to Universal, Dylan’s songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times.