For more than half a century now, people around the world have been enjoying the music of Bob Dylan. Whether it be “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35,” or “Gotta Serve Somebody,” the songs written and performed by Mr. Dylan are well-known by music fans of all ages.
In an article on the CNN website on Monday, it is reported that the entire catalog of Bob Dylan’s songs has been purchased by the Universal Music Publishing Group. This body of work includes more than 600 songs, which Universal insists will be used tastefully.
Although the exact figures were not disclosed, the sale of Mr. Dylan’s songs has been estimated to be in excess of $300 million by the New York Times.
For a legendary performer such as Dylan, the sale of his songs is quite unexpected. For many years, he has maintained control of the copyrights for his songs, and has successfully marketed them for use in advertisements by commercial products.
Through the years, Dylan’s songs have been used by Cadillac, IBM, Coopers & Lybrand, Apple and other high-profile companies. The purchase of this prolific songwriter’s music publishing rights may be the largest such purchase ever made. The 79-year old Dylan’s record sales since 1962 number more than 125 million copies. and he is still doing live performances.
The Universal Music Group’s CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge remarked on how important songwriting is in the formation of great music, and that Bob Dylan is one of songwriting’s top practitioners.
Mr. Grainge went on to describe Dylan’s music as brilliant, beautiful, provocative and inspiring. No matter if one of Dylan’s songs was written yesterday, or 50 years ago, he said, it is sure to offer a sense of timelessness.
The CEO of the Universal Music Publishing Group, Jody Gerson, said that it was a responsibility and a privilege to represent Dylan’s work. Describing Dylan as one of the best all-time songwriters, Gerson acknowledged the great cultural importance of his musical contributions.
There is a great deal of money to be made in the field of music publishing, and several other very well-known musical artists have sold their catalogs of work in recent years.
Bob Dylan has been aware for many years, of the money that can be earned in the publishing end of the music industry, and he maintains a New York-based business name the Bob Dylan Music Company.