NEW YORK – Universal Music has bought the entire back catalog of Bob Dylan’s songs, the company announced Monday, describing the deal as “one of the most important” music publishing agreements of all time.
The deal covers more than 600 song copyrights spanning 60 years including “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Lay Lady Lay,” (and) “Forever Young,” Universal Music said in a statement.
The music company gave no financial details of the purchase but the Financial Times reported it was a “nine-figure deal.”
The New York Times estimated the price at more than $300 million.
The value of owning music rights has soared in recent years with the surge in popularity of streaming sites such as Spotify, a trend that has grown during the pandemic lockdown.
Dylan, who burst onto the folk scene in New York in the early 1960s, has sold more than 125 million records around the world.
The US folk and rock legend’s songs are also frequently covered by other artists, generating royalties.
Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
“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,” said Universal Music CEO Jody Gerson.
“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,” she added.
Dylan released his first album of original songs in eight years in June with the 10-track “Rough and Rowdy Ways.”
It was the 79-year-old’s 39th studio album and came 58 years after the release of his first.
Rolling Stone magazine hailed it as an “absolute classic,” calling it one of Dylan’s “most timely albums ever.”