Bob Dylan Initially Turned Down A $400m Deal Before Current $300m Deal

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The entire catalog of Bob Dylan songs, one of the great treasures in music history, was acquired by Universal Music Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum.

The catalog includes modern classics such as “Blowin ‘In The Wind”, “The Times They Are a-Changin'”, “Knockin ‘On Heaven’s Door” and “Like a Rolling Stone”, a set of works perhaps only comparable to those of the Beatles, whose songs were bought back by Paul McCartney in 2017 after changing hands multiple times, due to their reach and influence.

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The New York Times, the first to report on the deal, said it was negotiated directly with Dylan.

But before the current sale of the estimated $300 million, Bob Dylan may have refused a $400 million proposal from Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis Songs Fund.

The report originates via Rolling Stone, citing an unnamed “source familiar to the situation.” If the rumor was true, that suggests that Dylan considers Universal is more reliable and equipped to manage his catalog or they made a bigger offer.  

No one on both sides is confirming the financial parts. Mercuriadis directly told Rolling Stone, “I congratulate [Universal] on making the deal. You don’t need me to say this is one of the greatest catalogs of all time. There’s Bob Dylan, there’s the Beatles, and there are very few others that touch that rarified air.” 

Dylan topped Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015 and his song “Like A Rolling Stone” was named the best song that was ever written by the magazine.