New York Daily News
Bob Dylan, the nasally voice of the nation for decades, has signed a blockbuster deal to sell his entire song catalog, spanning more than 600 copyrights and six decades.
Universal Music Publishing announced Monday that it has signed a “landmark agreement” with the 79-year-old singer-songwriter for his lifetime of work, “from 1962\u2032s cultural milestone ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ to this year’s epic ‘Murder Most Foul.’”
“To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time — whose cultural importance can’t be overstated — is both a privilege and a responsibility,” Jody Gerson, the chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, said in a statement.
Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, has long resisted selling to a music major and has retained most of his own copyrights, including hits like “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Make You Feel My Love.”
After breaking in at folks clubs in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, Dylan made a name for himself country- and worldwide before changing the game at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with an electric set.
Shortly after, he released “Like A Rolling Stone,” a six-minute production initially discarded as too long for the radio before it took off on rock stations, eventually peaking at No. 2, below the Beatles’ “Help.”
In 2016, Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
“When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium,” he wrote in a speech given by the United States Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji at the Nobel Banquet.
“If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.”
Former president Barack Obama awarded Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 and, last month, told YouTube twins Fred and Tim Williams that he’s been a fan “for a long time.”
“He was part of that kind of social conscience that was in rock music, and then later in hip-hop music. Look, I’m like everybody else, I like music about girls and cars and, you know, rock and roll and hip-hop,” he told the twins. “But whenever you can find some musicians that really have a message about how America might be, how the world might be, that always is something that I pay attention to. And he’s one of the greatest examples of that.”
All proceeds from his 2009 holiday album, “Christmas In The Heart,” were donated to the organization Feeding America, which helps feed 1.4 million families in need.
“It’s no secret that the art of songwriting is the fundamental key to all great music, nor is it a secret that Bob is one of the very greatest practitioners of that art,” Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said in a statement.
“Brilliant and moving, inspiring and beautiful, insightful and provocative, his songs are timeless — whether they were written more than half a century ago or yesterday. It is no exaggeration to say that his vast body of work has captured the love and admiration of billions of people all around the world. I have no doubt that decades, even centuries from now, the words and music of Bob Dylan will continue to be sung and played — and cherished — everywhere.”
The financial terms of Dylan’s deal have not been disclosed.
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