With the startling news on December 7, 2020, that Bob Dylan had sold his music publishing catalog to Universal Music, many publishers opted to use the bard’s own song titles in the title. The $300 million deal – others insist it was much more – has become an easy target. “Tangled Up in Green” was one. “The Times They Are Ka-Ching-In” was another.
Dylan’s deal was debated on social media, with many calling it a sellout. Same Diane Warren, a phenomenally successful songwriter whose oeuvre includes no less than nine No. 1 pop hits she’s written (or co-written), felt compelled to speak up. “I would NEVER sell my catalog,” she wrote. “It would be like selling my soul and it’s not for sale. The money offered is insane, but there is no amount of money that could ever make me do this. It’s like selling your kids or something. It’s so weird that someone like Dylan doesn’t really need the money. I have one of the most valuable catalogs in the world… But this catalog and this writer are not for sale!
Neither Dylan’s reasons nor his finances should worry Warren. He was 79 at the time of the announcement and perhaps he was resenting his own mortality and wanted to get his financial house in order for his eventual heirs.
As noted by top classical bands in his cover“As the music industry ecosystem evolves, music publishing has become one of the most valuable assets of record labels and their parent companies. Songs from their catalogs are routinely licensed for use in films, television series and commercials.
In the clips below you will see that Dylan has licensed his repertoire for years in a series of commercials for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. So music fans shouldn’t necessarily be surprised if its extensive song library continues to be monetized. One thing is certain: “Quinn the Eskimo (the mighty Quinn)” will not be used for Eskimo pies. In 2020, the dairy dessert was renamed Edy’s Pie.
Airbnb – “Shelter from the Storm” (2022)
The first announcement we saw since Dylan’s publishing deal was for the online hosting marketplace.
Victoria’s Secret – “Sick Love” (2007)
When Dylan was asked in 1965 if he was “selling his business interests, which would you choose”? “Ladies’ clothes,” was her quick and witty response. 40+ years later…
Chobani – “I Want You” (2014)
Bob does not appear in the ad that debuted at the Super Bowl.
Google Instant – “Underground Homesickness” (2010)
The advertisement cleverly used the legendary promotional film directed by DA Pennebaker in 1965.
iPod – “One Day Baby” (2006)
The spot linked to Dylan’s new studio album, Modern times.
Kohl’s – “Forever Young” (Cover) (2013)
This one tugs at the heart strings. Damn onions…
Pepsi – “Forever Young” (with Will.I.Am) (2009)
This use of the song debuted during the Super Bowl. The slogan ? “Each generation refreshes the world.”
Brother Printers – “The Times They Change” (2012)
Imagine how long it must have taken to produce.
Cadillac/XM – “(Instrumental)” (2007)
This is the rare case where Dylan interacts with the advertised product. He is seen behind the wheel and serves as the ad’s narrator. “Nothing goes better with a Cadillac than a long drive to nowhere full of good music.”
Chrysler – “(Instrumental)” (2014)
Another car ad, again with Bob amidst iconic American imagery. “What Detroit created was a first and became an inspiration to the rest of the world. You can’t import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line.
Cooperative Group – “Blowin’ in the Wind” (2009)
The multifaceted British company used the 1962 classic as the centerpiece of a rebranding campaign.
Travelers – “If It’s Not For You” (2020)
The tagline for the latest ad using Dylan’s music speaks to what we’ve all been through in 2020: “All we have is each other.”
IBM – No Music (2016)
Bob shows off his acting skills. “Maybe we should write a song together.”