Universal Music Group has bought Bob Dylan's entire song catalog in a blockbuster deal that's rumored to be worth more than $300 million. Included in the historic acquisition are 600 songs spanning six decades, spanning from classic 1960s hits like "Blowin 'in the Wind," "The Times They Are a-Changing," and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" to his 39th studio album Rough and Rowdy Ways, released in June 2020.
Multiple reports with inside sources have speculated on the price that Universal paid for Dylan's discography, as an exact figure wasn't disclosed. The New York Times reports $300 million-plus, while Bloomberg puts it closer to $200 million, according to "people familiar with the terms." Celebrity Net Worth had estimated Dylan's fortune at $200 million before the deal, so assuming all of these figures are close to accurate, his total net worth has at least doubled to between $400-$500 million.
“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,” Universal Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge said in a statement. “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.”
Bloomberg notes that the value of music rights has surged massively in the past five years thanks to the rise of streaming. While the recordings, which Dylan has retained, traditionally yield more revenue, song rights can generate money via radio play, advertising and licensing. That's going to add plenty of revenue to whatever licensing deal Dylan has going on with his Heaven's Door whiskey.
The Associated Press reports that Universal's deal with Dylan comes weeks after the Jewish artist's writings on anti-Semitism and unpublished lyrics sold at auction for $495,000. He has sold more than 125 million records globally and has music has been recorded more than 6,000 times, with notable covers including Jimi Hendrix's famous "All Along the Watchtower " and Peter, Paul and Mary's "Blowin' in the Wind."