Label notes drily that the deal was 'six hundred bucks well spent'
The contract confirms that Nirvana signed with the label for an initial advance of just $600 (£380), which Sub Pop describes drily as “six hundred bucks well spent – not that we had it at the time”. The agreement is between Sub Pop and the band’s then line-up of Kurt Cobain, Jason Everman, Chad Channing and Krist Novoselic, whose name is written incorrectly as “Chris”.
The contract isn’t dated but stipulates that Nirvana’s agreement with Sub Pop will begin on January 1, 1989. Dave Grohl didn’t join the band until 1990.
Although the contract states that Nirvana will receive an advance of just $600 for their initial one year term, it also confirms that the band would receive larger advances of $12,000 (£7,650) for the first option year and $24,000 (£15,300) for the second option year.
The contract is for “three complete album length master tapes” but Nirvana would end up releasing just one LP on Sub Pop, their 1989 debut ‘Bleach’, before being snapped up in 1990 by major label DGC/Geffen, who went on to distribute 1991’s ‘Nevermind’, which sold over 30 million copies worldwide, and 1993’s ‘In Utero’.
A remastered version of ‘In Utero’ is being released to mark its 20th anniversary on September 23. It will feature 70 tracks, including previously unreleased recordings and demos, B-sides and compilation tracks and live material featuring the band’s final touring line-up of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Pat Smear.
Steve Albini, the producer of Nirvana‘s polarising 1993 LP recently branded those who criticised ‘In Utero’ upon its release “parasites”. ‘In Utero’ was significantly more raw and abrasive-sounding than ‘Nevermind’, and at the time some fans and critics felt this was a wrong turn for the band – something which evidently hit a nerve with Albini.