“Six hundred bucks well spent—not that we had it at the time.”
The official Tumblr account of Sub Pop Records just put up a copy of Nirvana’s first contract, along with that note — the contract that would yield the band’s first album, 1989’s Bleach.
There are some remarkable pieces of history embedded in this artifact: The fact that the band was signed as a four-piece (featuring soon-to-be-departed members Chad Channing and Jason Everman, the latter of whom did not play on Bleach), that they were originally only signed for two years (it was set to expire at the end of 1991, though Sub Pop made a deal with DGC about Nirvana prior to the release of Nevermind), and that the band’s first advance was for a guaranteed $600 (with jumps up to $12,000 and $24,000 in the option years).
Of course, the band became far bigger than anybody at Sub Pop could have predicted back in ’89: They went on to sell over 30 million worldwide copies of their second album Nevermind and changed the course of popular music for a few years in the early ’90s.
As noted yesterday, Nirvana’s In Utero is getting the 20th anniversary box set treatment next month.