‘Six hundred bucks well spent’: Read Nirvana’s first contract with Sub Pop


Nirvana fever is alive and well as we countdown to September 13’s 20th anniversary of In Utero. But just five years before all the fame, fortune, and corporate retailer controversy, the Seattle then-quartet was just another band trying to get by. Sub Pop Records gave us an incredible look into that pre-Dave-Grohl era yesterday when they posted Nirvana’s first recording contract, a one-year deal with two option years that carried an initial advance of just $600.

“Six hundred bucks well spent — not that we had it at the time,” the label wrote on their tumblr.

Of course, the liner notes to Bleach tell is it was recorded for just $600, so that’s a pretty good ROI. The two option years in the Sub Pop deal came with a $12,000 and $24,000 advance, respectively, but Nirvana would eventually go on to sign with Geffen for future albums. Nevermind came out on September 24, which would have fallen into the contract’s second option year.


Even before Nevermind hit in 1991, however, the murky debut sold a respectable 40,000 copies, then going on to cross the million-mark once everyone in the planet smelled that Teen Spirit.

Nirvana contract