Bob Dylan has sold his entire catalog of more than 600 songs that stretch back nearly 60 years.
The icon has had a career filled with genre-hopping and generation-defining music. And his songbook may be the most significant in American history. It’s certainly going to be one of the most valuable.
Though no price was released, the amount Universal Music paid was likely massive. This purchase caps off a wild rush recently of music rights.
Last week, Steve Nicks sold 80 percent of her catalog for more than $100 million. Furthermore, Scooter Braun sold Taylor Swift’s master recordings recently for more than $300 million.
Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, spoke about acquiring Dylan’s catalog in a prepared statement.
“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,” Grainge said, according to the Associated Press.
Bob Dylan: A Nearly Unmatched Library of Songs
A wide range of artists — from Jimi Hendrix to Jeff Buckley to William Shatner — have covered Dylan’s music. In all, his songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times, Variety said. That’s because of the size of the catalog and the importance of the work.
He wrote some of the most important songs of the 1960s and was a leading voice of his generation. Those songs include “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” and so many more. Rolling Stone magazine said Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” was the greatest song ever written.
The 79-year-old has sold more than 125 million records in his career. Dylan has received a Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The Pulitzer Prize committee awarded him with a special citation in 2008.
Dylan’s output hasn’t slowed with age. In fact, his most recent album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, was released just this year.