Bob Dylan Sells Recording Catalogue to Sony Music Entertainment

The company now holds the master rights to Dylan's albums and "multiple future releases"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 24, 2022

Following the 2020 sale of his publishing rights, Bob Dylan has now sold the master rights of his entire catalogue of recorded music to Sony Music Entertainment (SME).

Today, the company announced the deal as part of a "major expansion of SME's six-decade relationship with the artist," acquiring "the entirety of Bob Dylan's recorded body of work since 1962, beginning with the artist's self-titled debut album and continuing through 2020's highly acclaimed and successful Rough and Rowdy Ways," as well as "the rights to multiple future new releases."

Dylan shared in a statement, "Columbia Records and [Sony Music Group chairman] 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."

Dylan signed with Columbia Records in 1961, and has released all 39 of his studio albums via the label. Sony acquired Columbia's parent company CBS Records Inc. in 1988, renaming it Sony Music Entertainment Inc. in 1991.

As to what those "future new releases" could be, SME note that they will "continue to collaborate on a range of future catalogue reissues in the artist's renowned and top-selling Bootleg Series," the most recent of which was last year's Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985).

Billboard estimates that Dylan's master rights are worth over $200 million USD. In December of 2020, Dylan sold the publishing rights of his song catalogue to Universal Music Publishing in a deal reportedly worth over $300 million USD.

Earlier this month, Dylan filed a new response to the August 2021 lawsuit alleging that the musician groomed and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 1965, calling the accusation "false, malicious, reckless and defamatory."

Read Exclaim!'s review of Rough and Rowdy Ways. The album was among Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2020, and also had one of 2020's worst album covers.

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