Little commercial demand for Nirvana’s music?

Licensing deal has earned less than $3million

Nirvana‘s back catalogue is raking in far less licensing money than predicted, it has emerged.

Three years ago, Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love sold a 50% stake in Nirvana‘s music publishing rights for a reported $50 millon.

But according to Conde Nast Portfolio, the buyer Primary Wave has so far earned a relatively modest figure of just over $2.3 million on licenses.


The report claims that Guitar Hero paid $50,000 for just one Nirvana song, ‘Breed’. By comparison, they wanted 24 songs by Aerosmith, paying $5million.

Meanwhile, Primary Wave has licensed 13 Nirvana songs to film and television productions for an estimated $480,000, compared to Jonas Brothers, who made around $1 million for 105 licenses in 2008 alone.

While Nirvana fans may be pleased that their music has not been heavily exploited in advertising, industry experts are claiming that Primary Wave may have misjudged their commercial adaptability.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier said: “Nirvana was so revolutionary that it’s very difficult to match different projects, and there are tons of iconic groups that allow their music to be utilised.”