In an astonishing move, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has sold his entire catalog of recorded music to Sony Music. The deal includes 100 percent of Dylan’s catalog, his income as a songwriter, and the copyright of his songs. The record company, which is owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, will also receive future income from Dylan’s songs. While the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, the deal is believed to be in the low- to the mid-nine-figure range.
As part of the deal, Dylan has signed exclusive publishing rights to Universal Music Group, which will release all his previously released albums and the songs from his catalog. His entire catalog is worth $300 million, and includes the classics such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times Are A-Changin’,” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” The catalog also includes rare material that Dylan released as a bootleg in 1991 and his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, due to be released in 2020.
The deal will cover his six-decade career and will include all his previously-released albums. The catalog will include future releases as well. The cost of the Bob Dylan songwriting catalog is estimated at $300 million. The sale of the Bob Dylan songwriting rights to Universal Music was completed in 2016, and it is believed to be worth an estimated $150 million. The deal has been reported to be a major coup for Sony Music.
The agreement with Universal and Bob Dylan involves 600 songs and seven songwriting rights. The two companies will work together on re-issues of all of the albums. This deal is separate from the controversial publishing deal with Universal. Under the terms of the sale, the master recording rights are transferred to the owner of the catalog, while the publishing rights are transferred to the publisher. The holder of the master recording rights has the power to dictate future re-issues. Moreover, the owners of the publishing rights will also have a cut of the profits from radio play, album sales, movies, and advertising.
In 1961, Bob Dylan signed a contract with Universal Records. In 1962, he released his debut album and signed with Sony’s Columbia Records. The latter record label purchased the rights to his song catalog and a portion of his songs and sing songs. The latter also included his songwriting catalog. As of now, he will continue to release new albums and songwriting rights to the company.