Bob Dylan, a global music and entertainment icon, has sold his entire catalog of songs to Universal Music Publishing Group, the company said Monday.
Dylan, who has sold more than 125 million albums around the world over a six decade career and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, agreed to had over a cannon of more than 600 copyrights, including those to culturally influential titles such as 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'The Times They Are a-Changin' to Universal Music Group, a subsidiary of France's Vivendi SAl (VIVHY) for an undisclosed sum.
"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," said Universal CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. "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," he added. "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."
The sale of the Dylan catalog follows a private settlement in 2017 that saw Paul McCartney, one of the founding members of the Beatles, reclaim the rights to the original quartet's songs after they were purchased by the late Michael Jackson for $47.5 million in 1985.
McCartney was able to secure the deal after Sony agreed to pay $750 million to the Jackson estate for its share of a 1995 joint venture that included the rights to more than 1 million song copyrights, including 250 penned and sung by the Beatles.
David Bowie, in 1997, pioneered the financing of his music catalog with the creation of so-called Bowie Bonds, a structure that securitized ten years worth of royalities from portions of the now-deceased artists' back catalog in exchange for an upfront payment of $55 million.