Bob Dylan sells the rights to the master to Sony Music Entertainment


Bob Dylan has sold the rights to his masters to Sony Music Entertainment, the company announced Monday, marking another blockbuster deal for artists cashing in on their music copyrights amid the ongoing catalog boom.

This is Dylan’s second major rights deal; he sold his publishing rights to Universal Music Group for over $300 million just over a year ago. (All songs have two copyrights. Recording rights relate to a specific recording, including master tracks, while publishing rights include song composition, such as music and lyrics. Recording rights relate more directly to broadcast and sales royalties while publishing rights relate more to performances and use in film and television.)

Sony didn’t disclose financial details of the sale in its announcement, but Bob Dylan’s catalog is perhaps the most famous collection of songs in American artist history, and Sony likely paid between nine figures for it. the Masters.

“Columbia Records has had a special relationship with Bob Dylan since the beginning of his career, and we are extremely proud and excited to continue to grow and evolve our 60-year partnership,” said Rob Stringer, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, in a statement. “Bob is one of music’s greatest icons and an artist of unparalleled genius. The pivotal impact he and his recordings continue to have on popular culture is unparalleled and we are delighted that he is now a permanent member of the Sony Music family. We are excited to work with Bob and his team to find new ways to make his music accessible to his many fans today and to future generations.

Dylan’s deal with Sony isn’t particularly surprising considering he’s been signed to flagship label Columbia since the ’60s. Dylan’s masters are the latest of several major deals Sony has struck over the past year . The record label bought Paul Simon’s publishing rights last March and bought out Bruce Springsteen’s recording and publishing rights in late 2021. Billboard reported that Springsteen sold to Sony for around $500 million, one of the biggest single music acquisitions of all time.

Catalog acquisitions have been particularly attractive to artists and songwriters for several years. Companies like Hipgnosis Songs Fund paid what were previously considered outrageous copyright prices, and majors followed suit. Powerful investment firms like KKR and Blackstone have also entered the fold, teaming up with music companies to buy more prestigious catalogs.

Legacy artists in particular have been active in the space as they plan their estates and choose to take large payments and leave their musical legacy to music companies rather than family estates. Other legacy artists who have secured deals include Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Mötley Crüe and Neil Young.

“Columbia Records and Rob Stringer have been nothing but good to me for many, many years and many records,” Dylan said in a statement. “I am happy that all my recordings can stay in their place.”


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