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Bob Dylan’s Share of Traveling Wilburys Rights Purchased by Primary Wave

Under the deal, Primary Wave now owns Dylan's share of the master and neighboring rights royalties from the group's two studio albums and 2007 box set.

Primary Wave has acquired a few key rights from Bob Dylan‘s share of the Traveling Wilburys catalog, including master royalties and neighboring rights royalties from both of the group’s albums as well as their 2007 box set, the company announced Wednesday (May 11).

Comprised of Dylan (aka Lucky Wilbury) and fellow superstars George Harrison (Nelson), Jeff Lynne (Otis), Roy Orbison (Lefty) and Tom Petty (Charlie), the Traveling Wilburys’ formation was a happy accident. After the five-some gathered to record a B-side single with Harrison in 1988, they went on to record two full-length LPs: the three-times platinum Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 and platinum-selling Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. 

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For their work, the Traveling Wilburys earned an Album of the Year nomination at the 1990 Grammys for Vol. 1, won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for the same album and received vast critical acclaim, but by the late ’90s, their records faded out of print, creating a scarcity that continued until the release of their 2007 box set The Traveling Wilburys Collection. The release created a massive Wilburys resurgence, with the set reaching No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and being certified gold by the RIAA.

With the acquisition, Primary Wave is investing in a share of music history beloved by Dylan, Harrison, Petty, Lynne and Orbison superfans across the globe. This is the company’s first investment in the catalog of Dylan, whose entire song catalog sold to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020 for a price estimated at between $375-400 million. In January 2022, it was revealed that Sony Music had quietly purchased Dylan’s master recordings (estimated to be worth over $200 million) sometime during the previous summer.

Notably, Primary Wave is home to many of the master recordings from Sun Records’ catalog, including that of Traveling Wilburys member Orbison.

In a statement about the deal, Samantha Rhulen, vp of business & legal affairs at Primary Wave Music, said, “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.”