Primary Wave Acquires Bob Dylan’s Share of The Traveling Wilburys Catalog

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Bob Dylan performing live. Photo Credit: Alberto Cabello

Primary Wave has officially acquired Bob Dylan’s interest in the work of The Traveling Wilburys.

New York City-based Primary Wave, which has quietly closed a number of other catalog investments during 2022, emailed DMN word of this latest play today. The deal arrives about four months after Bob Dylan sold his recordings to Sony Music and about 17 months after the Duluth, Minnesota, native’s publishing catalog became part of Universal Music Publishing Group.

But these pacts evidently didn’t cover 80-year-old Dylan’s stake in the catalog of The Traveling Wilburys, comprising two albums and a 2007 boxset. The commercially successful releases include well-known tracks like “End of the Line,” “Handle With Care,” and “Inside Out,” to name just a few.

For further reference, the Grammy-winning supergroup – which consisted of Dylan, George Harrison (whose estate inked a BMG administration deal last month), Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison – currently boasts 2.94 million monthly listeners on Spotify, notwithstanding the relatively small body of work at hand.

Neither Primary Wave nor the touring Bob Dylan has publicly revealed the agreement’s financial or ownership specifics. However, the transaction encompasses the 10-time Grammy winner’s “master royalties and neighboring rights royalties for both albums” as well as the aforementioned boxset, according to higher-ups.

Addressing its plans for Bob Dylan’s portion of The Traveling Wilburys catalog, 16-year-old Primary Wave said that it “will look to further the legacy of these iconic musicians and these celebrated and legendary albums” by utilizing an “internal infrastructure that includes marketing, digital strategy, licensing, and synch opportunities.”

And in a statement, Primary Wave VP of business and legal affairs Samantha Rhulen added: “To acquire even a small portion of Bob Dylan’s work as part of Traveling Wilburys is exciting to say the least. We’re honored to add this bit of history to our growing music catalog.”

Despite some signs of a cooldown in the previously red-hot catalog space, 2022 is continuing to deliver noteworthy music-IP sales.

Prior to Primary Wave’s pact with Bob Dylan, for instance, BMG closed out April by purchasing a catalog stake from Primal Scream, which execs dubbed “one of the most influential bands of the past 30 years.” Lesser-known players such as Influence Media Partners and Mojo Music & Media also finalized song-rights agreements during April.

Amid this shift towards relatively small plays, given the above-highlighted potential cooldown in catalogs, other blockbuster contracts yet could still be on the way. To be sure, Pink Floyd is reportedly considering selling its own music IP, per anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.