Image by  Xavier Badosa (CC BY 2.0)

It’s one of the ironies of 2020 that at the same time recording artists are being encouraged to hold on to their rights wherever possible, a succession of famous songwriters have been selling their publishing catalogues off.

Yesterday brought news of Bob Dylan selling his entire catalogue to Universal Music Publishing Group for a rumoured $300m-$400m, days after Stevie Nicks sold 80% of her publishing catalogue to Primary Wave for a reported $100m.

Both artists were doing this from a position of strength, which seemingly isn’t the case with David Crosby, who tweeted yesterday that “I am selling mine also …I can’t work …and streaming stole my record money …I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it’s my only option”.

The takeaway from all this is less about streaming royalties and more about the valuations being assigned to publishing catalogues – and the competition to snap them up, which obviously helps.

Image by  Xavier Badosa (CC BY 2.0)

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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