Bob Dylan is undoubtedly one of the most prolific musicians of our time. In a career spanning over 60 years, Bob Dylan has contributed 39 studio albums consisting of over 600 songs in total. He is also the only musician to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 for his outstanding songwriting skills and storytelling. And in December 2020, this massive collection of art was sold to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) for an undisclosed amount.
This deal will go down in history as one of the biggest acquisitions of copyrights for a catalog of music, and the deal was made between UMPG and Bob Dylan himself.
“It is with enormous pride that today we welcome Bob Dylan to the UMG family. 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. It is no exaggeration to say that his vast body of work has captured the love and admiration of billions of people all around the world. 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,” Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Sir Lucian Grainge said in a statement after the deal.
The Bob Dylan music catalog deal includes the infamous songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Tangled Up In Blue.” All the above songs, among several others, are included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.’ Bob Dylan is the artist with the third-most entries on the list (12 songs) only beaten by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Throughout his career, Bob Dylan has sold over 125 million records globally. Aside from the Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan has received 10 Grammy Awards, one Academy Award, and Golden Globe Award. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Bob Dylan released his 39th album in 2020, titled ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways,’ at the age of 79. The album debuted in the top 10 in many countries including the UK, USA, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, and more. The album reached the #1 spot in UK charts and #2 in US charts.
The Bob Dylan music catalog sale insinuates that the songs falling under the deal would require UMPG’s permission to be played, or used in any art or media.
Whoever holds the controlling stake of Bob Dylan’s music, his legacy will live on forever!