After a nearly six-decade career that's produced more than 600 songs and one Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan has sold his entire music catalogue in what may be the biggest acquisition of a single musical act’s publishing rights.
On Monday, the Universal Music Publishing Group announced it had signed a deal to purchase the 79-year-old's catalogue, which includes hits such as The Times They Are A-Changin', Tangled Up in Blue, Mr. Tambourine Man and Like a Rolling Stone.
The deal covers the singer's entire career, from his earliest songs to his latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways, which was released in June. While the exact price of the deal was not disclosed, The New York Times reports it is estimated at more than $300 million.
“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,” Lucian Grainge, chief executive of the Universal Music Group, said in a statement.
Jody Gerson, chief executive of Universal Music Publishing Group, 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."
Dylan had no comment, a spokesman said.
However, the new deal with Universe does not include any future songs Dylan may pen, leaving open the possibility he could work with another publisher.
In 1997, David Bowie came up with "Bowie Bonds" where he struck a licensing deal with EMI for his back catalogue that included Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Let's Dance, as well as unreleased studio and live recordings that turned into a $55 million payday.
Soon after, other artists followed suit, such as James Brown, The Isley brothers, Iron Maiden and Rod Stewart.