HOLLYWOOD—Bob Dylan is not only an icon and a Pulitzer prize winner, he’s also very rich. You may recall back in 2016, Dylan became the first songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for literature. Dylan has sold more than 125 million records globally. He has just sold his entire song catalog to Universal Music Group, in one of the most biggest acquisitions in Universal’s history.
In return, UMG, will collect all future income from the songs. In the deal, it includes both the income Dylan currently receives as a songwriter and his control of each song’s copyright. Dylan, 79, is known for such great hits such a “The Times Are A-Changin,” “ Like a Rolling Stone.” Universal will acquire around 600 tracks, from his career of six decades.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed publicly, but it is thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Robert Zimmerman, his real name, is said, to be the latest artist to join forces with the LA based UMG, following the likes of Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, and Bruce Springsteen. It’s also quite interesting that his work was previously administered by their rival Sony/ATV outside of the US, and by Dylan’s catalog outside of the US until the end of their agreement, in several years’ time. Sony music also retains the rights to his recordings.
So what does this all mean? For his fans, nothing really changes. His music remains available on streaming sites. So where is the money flowing? From now on, Universal Music will receive all future income for Dylan’s vast catalog collection. They will have control even in the film industry, the company will get a royalty payment. They also have say on which films or TV commercials can use Dylan’s songs in the future.
In return, Dylan received a lump sum said to be in anywhere from $200 million and $450 million. No one has disclosed the amount. Just last week, Stevie Nicks sold a majority stake in her publishing catalog for $80 million. Big difference. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, with music being a stable asset, investors see a booming business. Dylan is not alone, the likes of Blondie, Barry Manilow, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon have all sold the rights to their music in recent years.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since the tragic death of John Lennon. The 7-time Grammy winner was killed on December 8, 1980. Lennon was shot in front of his New York City home, by Mark David Chapman, when he was 40 years old. Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album had been released in October 1980 and was climbing the charts. Lennon loved seeing his wife’s music being embraced. December 8, 1980, began early for them both, they ate breakfast at their usual table in their favorite neighborhood restaurant, Café La Fortuna. A very modest place, known for Italian pastries and opera.
After John’s death, the table was placed by the window as a momento. The café has since closed its doors. After a haircut, and a radio interview, some 90 minutes later, they headed downstairs. A small crowd waited outside, and a heavyset young man asked for an autograph. Lennon and Ono went on to the Record Plant to mix. Shortly after, the limo pulled up to the Dakota’s front gate around 10:50 p.m., where they lived. Chapman was waiting, in a combat stance, and aimed his .38 Special revolver and shot four hollow-point bullets into John’s torso. He collapsed. John was dead.
Just like Dylan, he was an influential songwriter and one of the best. Lennon’s music stretched the creative envelope like no other artist before or since. Unequivocally one of the greatest who ever lived. He was an inventive and infinite powerful mind. Who else can write “Imagine,” “Come Together,” “Give Peace A Chance,” “Jealous Guy,” among many others.
Rose’s Scoop: John Lennon will always live in our hearts, through his music!