This week Universal Music Publishing Group announced they made a historical music deal. The deal, involves the famed singer-songwriter and music legend, Bob Dylan. In this, Dylan sold his music catalog that gained him his successful career to UMPG. Meaning, in the entirety of Bob Dylan’s popular tunes of “The Times They Are A-Changin’”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and much more — reaching over 600 songs, are now owned by the publishing company.
Hitting the early 1960s music scene, Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) in 1941, Minnesota. Later, would venture to the Big Apple, where he released his first record titled Bob Dylan, in 1962. An album that contained the traditional folk era sounds and songs. Yet, starting out, this album was not successful. It wouldn’t be until his later success years, that fans gravitated to his early releases.
In the early start of the sixties, Dylan continued to explore his tune and styles of music in an era of change for popular culture. The decade saw a revolution of significance both political and social with anti-war movements and changes to dress, music, drugs, and a relaxed social order. A historical time known as the Swinging Sixties. For Dylan, his style has expanded many areas since starting out in this vibrant scene. A voice of the baby boomer generation, his musical career has carried over from folk revival to blues, country, and rock.
Big Sell or Big Deal – What This Means?
The reason this is a big deal in the music industry is Dylan 79, has largely controlled the ownership of his songs throughout his vast years. Although, it’s not unusual for ownership of music selling and being transferred from various companies. This was seen with controversy surrounding Taylor Swift’s older albums sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings by her previous publishing company Big Machine Label Group.
Plus, a short time ago, her music was sold again to Shamrock Capital. On a side note, now Taylor Swift has begun re-recording her past music and also recently signed a publishing deal with UMPG early this year. A continued accomplishment that has Universal Music Publishing Group really winning, at the moment.
Making a Deal with Bob Dylan
Now, this news as reported by The New York Times said to be estimated at a deal worth more than $300 million. The amount has not been disclosed but is intriguing, considering Rolling Stone, reported Bob Dylan had turned down Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s $400 million offer. This London based song management company is founded and run by Merck Mercuriadis. Some of his company’s represented artists consist of The Chainsmokers, Mark Ronson, and Richie Sambora.
Luckily for UMPG, Dylan has chosen their deal and set the company up for further success as revenue will increase every time Dylan’s music is used, streamed, covered by artists, or commercially sold in various formats.
Together, Dylan and his new publishing partner UMPG are up for an exciting new year ahead. With over 125 million records sold worldwide, Dylan’s earliest music to his most recent Rough and Rowdy Ways — released in June 2020 and everything between will be owned by Universal Music Publishing Group.
Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson stated, “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.” The company is one of the top music publishers and represents many famous singer-songwriters. This includes a variety of artists like Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Adele, Halsey, Coldplay, and many other greats.
A Unique Purchase
This privilege has allowed Dylan to cash in on his incredible career and continue to reap the benefits— in addition, to UMPG, increasing their wealth as well. More elder musicians have slowly been taking up various music stake offerings by publishing companies. This is likely due to certain planning on their part, the economy, and future sales holdings of music. Some of those who have initiated this tactic include The Killers and Stevie Nicks.
The Sale of Music Catalogs and Strategy Behind It
Given the times we’re in now, Dylan has the necessary cushion needed while UMPG, can have the assets of reviving popular songs directly to various audiences and streaming services. Not being able to have direct revenue through live performances leaves many younger musicians stuck trying to gain popularity. While companies like Spotify don’t always allow them to get a fair revenue stream. An area that streaming services and artists are still working through together. Some have pointed this to the familiar phrase of baby boomers still leaving millennials out of ever catching up to them in building a steady wealth.
However, for UMPG, the historical value and folk legacy of Dylan’s music will be of great value. Partly because of his popularity by many people. But also for the new revenue stream directly to themselves. Dylan has primarily been the songwriter and singer in his music, allowing UMPG to have full rights to his complete music and larger opportunities for advancement.
Together, Dylan and his new publishing partner are up for an exciting new year ahead. With over 125 million records sold worldwide, Dylan’s earliest music to his most recent Rough and Rowdy Ways album released in June 2020 to everything in between will be owned by Universal Music Group. A very lucrative deal for both parties involved. Time will tell how Universal Music Publishing Group proceeds in this celebratory deal.