SANTA MONICA, USA – Music legend Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) has sold his entire catalogue of songs to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). The landmark agreement, announced by UMPG today, encompasses more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years from 1962’s cultural milestone “Blowin’ In The Wind” to this year’s epic “Murder Most Foul”. (Listen below.)
It means Universal will receive all Dylan’s future income from the songs. The deal is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars, although UMPG has not confirmed this.
Dylan’s incredible body of work – enjoyed for decades by fans across the world, including in South Africa – earned him a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. The 79-year-old made history as the first songwriter to receive such a distinction and was cited by the Swedish Academy “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
UMPG Chairman & CEO Jody Gerson said in a statement: “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.”
Gerson said: “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.”
What does Bob Dylan’s catalogue of music include?
Bob Dylan’s songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times, by an array of artists representing dozens of countries, cultures and music genres. Some of his best known works include the aforementioned “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Lay Lady Lay,” “Forever Young,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Gotta Serve Somebody,” “Make You Feel My Love,” and the Academy Award-winning “Things Have Changed.”
UMPG said in a statement that Bob Dylan is one of America’s most influential and groundbreaking artists. In the decades since he first burst into the public’s consciousness via New York City’s Greenwich Village folk music scene in the early 1960s, 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 continues to travel the globe each year, performing nearly 100 concerts annually in front of audiences who embrace his new music with the same fervour as they do his classics.
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.”