Bob Dylan has sold his entire back catalog of recorded music to Sony Music Entertainment. Sony did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. The American singer has been a major figure in pop culture during his career span. The iconic American Artist had already sold songwriting rights separate from recording rights, which govern reproduction and distribution to Universal, in a deal estimated to be worth more than $300 million.
In Dylan’s case, his songwriting corpus is so valuable because of the thousands of cover versions of his songs that have been made over the years from Peter, Paul & Mary in the 1960s to Adele, who recorded Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” on her first album.
Dylan has a history of almost 60 years with Columbia Records, which is owned by Sony. He was signed the label in the year 1961. He released his first album in the following year, which included traditional folk songs and a handful of Dylan originals like “Talkin’ New York” and “Song to Woody,” a tribute to his hero Woody Guthrie.
In a statement, Dylan said, “Columbia Records and Rob Stringer have been nothing but good to me for many, many years and a whole lot of records. I’m glad that all my recordings can stay where they belong.”
The deal is part of a wave of transactions for artists’ catalogs, which have included Sony’s $550 million purchase of Bruce Springsteen’s recorded music and songwriting catalogs, as well as other major deals for the work of Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Neil Young, Shakira and others.
The copyrights for recordings and songwriting — the lyrics and melodies underlying the recording of any songs — are separate, and both have been coveted by investors in recent years as streaming has lifted the music industry’s fortunes.