Bob Dylan’s whopping $400m payday


The rights they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan has sold his entire six-decade catalogue of songs to Universal Music Group in a deal thought to be the biggest of its kind.

Universal announced the deal early Monday, with publishing CEO Jody Gerson calling it "both a privilege and a responsibility" to "represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time."

A price for the deal was not disclosed, but people familiar with it told Bloomberg the songs are worth more than $200 million ($A269 million), with others telling the New York Times it could be more than $300 million ($A404 million).

That would make it likely the biggest acquisition ever of the music publishing rights of a single act, the paper said.

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Dylan - who had previously controlled most of his own songwriting copyrights - sold more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years, Universal said.

That includes classics that made him an icon from his time in New York in the early 1960s - such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" - to the 79-year-old songwriter's latest album this year, "Rough and Rowdy Ways."

"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," Universal Music Group's chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said of his "enormous pride" at the deal with Dylan.

"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."

He called songwriting "the fundamental key to all great music," adding, "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."

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Bob Dylan in 1979. Picture: Sony Music/Michael Chugg
Bob Dylan in 1979. Picture: Sony Music/Michael Chugg

Dylan is just the latest legend to cash in on a boom for music rights. Just last week, former Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks sold a majority stake in her songwriting that valued the catalogue at about $100 million ($A134 million).

Dylan's catalogue includes some of the best-known tunes in music history - songs that have been recorded more than 6000 times by artists around the world, Universal noted.

This story originally appeared on NY Post and has been reproduced here with permission


Originally published as Bob Dylan's whopping $400m payday