Bob Dylan signs huge deal with Universal Music Publishing Group

Bob Dylan signs huge deal with Universal Music Publishing Group

Universal Music Publishing Group has announced the acquisition of Bob Dylan’s entire catalogue – a collection of iconic songs spanning his 60-year career. 

UMPG described the Bob Dylan deal as “the most significant music publishing agreement this century and one of the most important of all time”. Dylan’s songs were previously represented by Sony/ATV, who landed a Super Bowl sync with Budweiser for Blowin’ In The Wind in 2019. 

UMPG chairman & CEO Jody Gerson said: “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. The UMPG global team is honored to be Bob Dylan’s publishing partner and I especially want to acknowledge Marc Cimino whose passion and perseverance were instrumental in bringing this opportunity to us. 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.”  

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said: “As someone who began his career in music publishing, 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.”  

The 600 song copyrights in the UMPG agreement include such classics as The Times They Are A-Changin’, Like A Rolling Stone, Lay Lady Lay, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Tangled Up In Blue. 

The announcement comes during a boom time for songwriting acquisitions, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that last week's Primary Wave deal with Stevie Nicks was valued at $100 million. The Dylan deal would likely be worth considerably more than that.

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

Sir Lucian Grainge

According to a statement, Bob Dylan has sold more than 125 million records around the world and “amassed a singular body of work that includes some of the greatest and most popular songs the world has ever known”. 

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 – the first songwriter to receive such a distinction – cited by the Swedish Academy "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Rough And Rowdy Ways (Columbia), Dylan’s 39th studio album, debuted at No.1 in the UK in the summer. It has sales to date of 81,314, according to the Official Charts Company.

Bob Dylan follows recent star signings to UMPG, including Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Bruce Springsteen, Bee Gees, Billie Eilish and Post Malone. 

The publisher could also have the UK No.1 single this week if Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You climbs one place to the summit.

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