Sub Pop was started by Bruce Pavitt. Sub Pop began in 1980 as a fanzine called Subterranean Pop (the name changed to Sub Pop starting with issue 2), which, inspired by Fast Forward cassette fanzine, began alternating issues with compilation tapes of American bands (though several foreign bands did appear on Sub Pop cassettes). There were nine issues of Sub Pop fanzine in all, six magazines and three cassettes (issues 5, 7 and 9). After issue 9, Sub Pop switched to an all cassette format, but the amount of work required scuttled the project. Sub Pop continued as a column in Seattle newspaper The Rocket for several more years.
Kim Thayil of Soundgarden introduced Pavitt to Jonathan Poneman, and they decided to form a record label.
See also: List of record labels