Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nirvana's Original Contract

Here's a great piece of music history. It's part of the original recording agreement between Nirvana and the indie label Sub Pop. There are a number of interesting things here if you take the time to read it:

1. There are 4 people on the agreement, and drummer Dave Grohl isn't one of them, since he didn't join the band until a year after the deal was signed. Jason Everman had originally paid for the sessions for the band's first album Bleach (a grand total of $606.17), and was kindly included on the deal.

2. The deal is only for one year with two option years, which is pretty short when compared to a major label deal, who usually try to hold onto an artist for at least 5 to 7 years.

3. The advance for the first year was $600! The first option year was $12,000 and the the second was $24,000. The option year advances turned out to be blessing and a curse. Bleach sold about 40,000 copies the first year (a pretty good amount for an indie), but Kurt Cobain was dissatisfied with Sub Pop's promotion of the album and wanted off the label. The advance amount for the second year was too much for most indie labels to absorb, so they were forced to look for a larger record label, which turned out to be David Geffen's DGC, a label that was distributed by Warner Bros at the time.

The rest, as they say, was history, as the band's second album Nevermind blew up and sold 25 million.

Nirvana Sub Pop recording agreement


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