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That Time Microsoft Tried To Buy Sub Pop

It’s been alleged that in an instance of a corporation overstepping the mark and showing everyone just how out of touch they are — and in a way that would make even Client Liaison cringe — Microsoft, as in Bill Gates‘ Microsoft, once tried to purchase Seattle indie label Sub Pop Records.

Immediately following the decline of grunge in 1994, Warner Bros paid US$20 million to own 49% of the label — who were largely seen as fostering the movement in the first place by signing acts like Mudhoney and Nirvana — a deal that continues to this day, brokered by one Dana Giacchetto.

As Billboard reports in a new profile on Mr Giacchetto, “the Lamb of Wall Street,” he was a rockstar in the broker world and was known for throwing wild parties with Leonardo DiCaprio, until he was thrown in jail for fraud. In the Billboard profile, Giacchetto details the famous purchase of Sub Pop.

“I can now reveal that Universal was the top bidder, $25 million,” explains Giacchetto, “but it wasn’t the right creative fit. Sony Music bid $5 million. David Geffen [Geffen Records] bid $8 million — I told him his bid was way too f-cking low — and Microsoft bid a paltry $4 million, frankly insulting.”

“Bill Gates, who at the time considered himself to be ‘the future of entertainment,’ couldn’t have been a more dull character,” he adds. “It definitely would have made Microsoft a bit more hip, which in hindsight might have actually made Microsoft a player in entertainment. They’re still not.”

According to Billboard, Microsoft refuses to comment on whether it ever had any interest in buying a small record label with heaps of street cred (too embarrassing?), but Sub Pop founders Bruce Pavitt and Rich Jensen confirmed Giacchetto’s account and gave him credit for the Time Warner sale.

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