Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bob Dylan’s $22 Million Dollar Publishing Deal: Protest Songs Pay


EXCLUSIVE With the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” coming out this year– a movie about the folk era that produced Bob Dylan in 1961– there’s going to be renewed interest in the genre. So it turns out that I’ve come across a 2010 music publishing contract extension for Dylan. And the fictional Llewyn Davis will really kick himself after reading it. Protest songs are quite lucrative. Dylan signed an extension in 2010 that puts him right now in the middle of a quietly executed $22 million deal. Not bad.

According to terms of the deal with Sony/ATV Music, Dylan gets a payout of $4.4 million every December from 2010 to 2014. It covers all hits hits from “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Just Like a Woman” to more recent hits like “Make You Feel My Love” and “Things Have Changed.”

***Take the poll–your favorite Bob Dylan song*** on the home page

The deal was signed based on some projects that worked out and others that didn’t. Dylan did release a new album last year. But a planned huge box set that was in the works was sidelined, perhaps permanently.

The deal was a safe one for Sony/ATV. According to the memo, Dylan had averaged $4 million a year from 2006 to 2010 anyway in publishing royalties. And that’s why songs that can “covered”– recorded by other artists– or played on radio and in various venues are so valuable. It’s hard to imagine what rappers like Jay Z and Kanye West make from publishing contracts since their tracks, beats, and samples are self-contained performances.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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