Bob Dylan sold its entire catalog of recordings, as well as “the rights to multiple future new releases” a Sony Music Entertainment, the company announced Monday, in the latest in a string of recent big-artist deals.
Sony did not disclose the amount of the agreement but according to information from specialized media such as Billboard and Variety the operation would rise to 200 million dollars.
By the end of 2020, the iconic 80-year-old artist had already sold the copyrights to his musical compositions – other than the recording rights, which govern reproduction and distribution – to Universal, in a deal estimated at more than $300 million.
Sony said it signed the agreement in July 2021, which is a finishing touch to a six-decade relationship between artist and company.
The author of iconic songs like “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Tangled Up in Blue” signed his first deal with Sony-owned Columbia Records in 1961, releasing his first album that same year.
Noting Dylan’s “peerless genius,” Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music Group, underlined the “special relationship” Columbia Records has had with the American artist since the beginning of his career.
“We are extremely proud to continue to grow and develop our 60-year relationship” with the 2016 Nobel Prize winner for literature, he said.
For Dylan, the long relationship with Columbia Records and Rob Stringer “has only been good for me for many, many years and for the good handful of records” he has released on his label.
“I’m glad that all my recordings can stay where they belong,” he added.
Sony announced that it plans to collaborate with Dylan on “a series of future reissues of the Bootleg Series,” a project that began in 1991 and has released previously unreleased live and studio material.
The terms of the deal also allow Sony to pursue “other projects” with Dylan.
In 2020, Bob Dylan released his 39th studio album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways”, to critical acclaim.
At 80, he continues to give concerts. On Monday he announced a series of new dates in the southern United States, part of a world tour that will conclude in 2024.
Dylan’s deal with Sony is different from the one he signed with Universal.
Owners of recording rights can decide to make future releases, while copyright holders receive royalties for their radio and streaming plays, album sales, and use of songs in advertising and in movies.
The prolific composer’s songs have been performed by other artists, making his catalog of compositions particularly valuable.
The agreement with Universal was one of the most important that gave way to a series of music catalog transactions last year, in a market increasingly interested in this type of asset.
The trend is due in part to streaming growth projections coupled with low interest rates and expected earnings from longtime hits.
It is also very useful for artists who think about the future of their heritage.
The companies have bought a number of major catalogs such as David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Paul Simon, Motley Crue, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shakira.
Springsteen sold the rights to his music catalog to Sony for about $500 million last December.
Earlier this month, Bowie’s estate sold the rights to the singer’s musical work to Warner Chappell Music.