Sony Music has acquired the rights to Bob Dylan’s entire catalog of recorded music as well as the rights to “several future new releases”, the company announced.
The two parties reached an agreement last July. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Billboard estimates that Dylan’s master recordings are worth $200 million or more, based on an estimated worldwide annual revenue of $16 million and an alleged sale “for a multiple of approximately 15 to 20 times Annual turnover”.
The deal includes all of Dylan’s recorded work, including 39 studio albums – from his self-titled 1962 debut through the 2020s. Rough and rowdy ways – as well as his 16 “Bootleg Series” volumes and various singles. The sale of Dylan’s masters follows the sale of his publishing rights to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020, a deal estimated at $300 million or more.
“Columbia Records and [Sony Music Group chairman] Rob Stringer has been nothing but good to me for many years and many records,” Dylan said in a statement. “I’m glad all of my recordings can stay where they belong.” had a special relationship with Bob Dylan since the start of his career” and hailed the singer-songwriter as “one of music’s greatest icons and an artist of unparalleled genius”.
In recent years, record companies and publishing houses have been keen to grab the publishing rights and master recordings of legacy artists for staggering sums. Last month, Bruce Springsteen sold his masters and publishing catalog for a total of $500 million. Other recent catalog sales include Motley Crue ($150 million), Neil Young ($150 million for half of his catalog), and ZZ Top ($50 million).
Rockers who sold their publishing rights
As song placement has become commonplace and sales have declined due to streaming, many classic rockers have shed their publishing rights.