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KA-CHING! Anti-Establishment Singer Bob Dylan To Sell Catalog For Upwards Of $300M

KA-CHING! Anti-Establishment Singer Bob Dylan To Sell Catalog For Upwards Of $300M

“The Times They Are a-ChanginIndeed they are.Folk singer Bob Dylan, who penned anti-establishment and civil rights songs that swept America in the 1960s, is selling his entire catalog of songs to Universal Music Publishing Group.

The catalog includes more than 600 copyrighted songs, “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” and “Like A Rolling Stone,” which Rolling Stone named the best song ever written in 2015.

“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,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, in a prepared statement. “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.”

Jody Gerson, the chief executive of Universal’s publishing division, added, “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.”

The terms of the sale were not released, but Bloomberg News, citing sources, reported that the songs are worth $200 million. Others told The New York Times the deal could be worth more than $300 million. For reference, pop star Michael Jackson’s estate in 2016 sold half of his catalog for $750 million.

Said Bloomberg: “Dylan, 79, is cashing in on the boom in music rights. The value of songs and recordings has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to streaming, which has fueled a five-year expansion for the music industry after a deep slump. He isn’t selling the recordings, which are a separate asset.”

Artists with deep catalogs have been cashing in lately. Former Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks last week sold a majority stake in her songwriting copyrights for an estimated $100 million.

“Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a British company that has made a rapid run in the market in just two and a half years, recently disclosed that it had spent about $670 million from March to September acquiring rights in more than 44,000 songs by Blondie, Rick James, Barry Manilow, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and others,” The Times reported.

“Music publishing is the side of the business that deals in the copyrights for songwriting and composition — the lyrics and melodies of songs, in their most fundamental form — which are distinct from those for a recording. Publishers and writers collect royalties and licensing fees any time their work is sold, streamed, broadcast on the radio or used in a movie or TV commercial. (The recent sale of Taylor Swift’s first six albums covered only that material’s recording rights. Swift signed a separate publishing deal with Universal in February.)” wrote the Times.

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