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Why Sub Pops Founder Quit The Music Industry - And What He Thinks Of It Today

No Comments 17 January 2017

Why Sub Pops Founder Quit The Music Industry - And What He Thinks Of It Today

For most of his career, Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt had a front row seat to the most subversive elements of punk rock culture.

His music career started at college with a radio show and fanzine, before launching Sub Pop in ’86 - a label best known for Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden.

After dumping his shares in 2003, unhappy with the culture change that came with selling a 49% stake to Warner, he took some time away from the industry to raise a family.

Author: Rhian Jones/

Now he’s back - with some considered observations on what’s lacking in music culture in 2017.

Pavitt is working with remix app 8Stem alongside business partner Adam Farish.

The app allows fans to remix artists’ music, versions of which are then distributed online - with independent acts keeping 70% of the profits.

“It’s a completely radical way of thinking about music,” says Pavitt. “Artists can own their material for one thing, and once those remixes are posted online they generate revenue.”

“We’re lowering the bar to allow people to participate in remix culture, and when you lower the bar to participation, culture gets activated, which is what happened with punk rock.”

“It used to be that you’d need x amount of cash and experience to do these remixes, but we’ve created something that literally anyone with a phone and a finger can use to do audio collages and share them.”

The inspiration for the app comes from a belief in the importance of authentic independence when dealing in culture - a factor Pavitt believes is few and far between in today’s music scene.

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