Bob Dylan has joined the list of popular musicians that have been selling off their masters and catalogs. The singer has sold his masters for $200 million. Sony Music has gotten the rights to Dylan’s entire back catalog of recorded music. In addition to that, they also got the rights for “multiple future new releases.”
The deal happened in July 2021. While the actual financial details of the deal were never released, Billboard thinks that Bob Dylan’s catalog is worth around $200 million. They could even be worth more. If no financial information about the deal was released, how did they get to that number? Easy. Billboard looked at Dylan’s global annual revenue, which is estimated to be around $16 million. Thus, they can estimate that the sale would be “for a multiple of about 15 to 20 times annual revenue.”
“Columbia Records and [Sony Music Group chairman] Rob Stringer have been nothing but good to me for many, many years and a whole lot of records,” Bob Dylan said. “I’m glad that all my recordings can stay where they belong.” Rob Stringer released his own statement, as well. “Columbia Records has had a special relationship with Bob Dylan from the beginning of his career,” Stringer said. He then praised the singer as “one of music’s greatest icons and an artist of unrivaled genius.”
Since the deal was for Bob Dylan’s entire masters catalog, Sony Music now owns the rights for 39 studio albums by the legendary singer. That spans from his first self-titled album in 1962, to 2020’s Rough and Rowdy Ways. It also includes his Bootleg Series, which is made up of 16 volumes. He also recently sold his publishing rights, although he sold these to Universal Music Publishing Group.
Companies Are Snapping Up Music Rights From Artists Like Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s masters deal is just one in a long line of many. Lately, more and more companies are jumping at the chance to buy masters and music catalogs from popular artists. Other recent sales include Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, David Bowie, and Motley Crue. These catalogs are being bought for insanely high amounts of money. For example, Bruce Springsteen alone managed to get more than $500 million for his entire catalog. He sold his music to Sony Music. It’s one of the highest (if not the highest) music deals for one solo artist.
David Bowie’s estate has also sold off his catalog for a cool $250 million. His catalog contained over six decades’ worth of music. His estate sold his music to Warner Music Group’s publishing branch, Warner Chappell Music Publishing. John Legend has sold off his catalog, too. What’s interesting is how much younger he is than other legacy stars that are doing the same. The sale amount was not released by any of the parties.