Sub Pop was started by Bruce Pavitt in Olympia, Washington in 1979 as a fanzine called Subterranean Pop (which was changed to Sub Pop starting with the 2nd issue). Inspired by the cassette fanzine Fast Forward, Sub Pop began alternating issues with compilation tapes of American bands.
In 1986, Pavitt moved to Seattle, Washington and released the first Sub Pop LP, the compilation Sub Pop 100. In 1987, Sub Pop released the Dry as a Bone EP by Green River, and later that year Pavitt met Jonathan Poneman.
Kim Thayil of Soundgarden introduced Pavitt to Jonathan Poneman, and the two decided to form a record label in 1986. With several bands from the local scene signed to their label, Pavitt and Poneman worked to popularize the music to popularize their label.
Their first step was the Sub Pop Singles Club, a subscription service that would allow subscribers to receive singles by local bands on a monthly basis by mail. This allowed Sub Pop to become a powerful company in the local scene, as well as make their label's name synonymous with the music of the Seattle area, much in the same way Motown Records was to Detroit. The first release of the Singles Club was Nirvana's Love Buzz/Big Cheese, in November 1988. Singles Club was ended five years later in 1993, and re-launched in 1998. In 2002, the Singles Club was ended again.
Though Sub Pop was important in popularizing grunge, some grunge fans have criticized Pavitt and Poneman for their actions. These fans felt that their role in popularizing grunge was motivated by greed rather than by love for the music. After many successful grunge bands had left Sub Pop for major record labels, a joint venture with Warner Music and the company was formed.
Sub Pop has one platinum record, Nirvana's Bleach and one gold record, The Postal Service's Give Up. The Postal Service's digital single for "Such Great Heights" has also gone gold.
Torrents from SubPopRecords
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