Bob Dylan has sold his entire music publishing catalogue to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) for an estimated $300 million — although the tally could be as high as $400 million. The catalogue of over 600 songs spans a full 60 years up through Dylan’s most recent album, 2020’s Rough And Rowdy Ways. Sir Lucian Grainge, the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group said in a statement: 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 New York Times reported, “Since Universal now controls his work, Dylan will no longer have veto power over how his songs will be used. After the deal was announced early Monday, users on Twitter had a field day with corny puns suggesting how Dylan’s work could be exploited. ‘Pay Lady Pay, one user quipped. ‘Tangled Up In Blue Cross/Blue Shield, wrote another. Still, Universal insisted it would be tasteful in its use of Dylan’s work.”

SIDE NOTES

  • With no advance notice, last week, Bob Dylan dropped the copyright release The Bob Dylan — 50th Anniversary Collection 1970.
  • The triple-disc set was released as an extremely limited edition via the UK store Badlands. The site posted a disclaimer that only one copy per customer was allowed.
  • The already sold-out set features material recorded during and around Dylan’s legendary New Morning album — including his heavily bootlegged May 1st, 1970 session with George Harrison on lead guitar.

CHECK IT OUT: Bob Dylan on May 26th, 1976 performing “Shelter From the Storm” live in Fort Collins, Coloardo: