Nevermind made grunge a million dollar word, but the genre's appeal was extremely limited before its release. Nirvana's label, Geffen Records, hoped Nevermind could maybe go gold. If anything, moving 250,000 copies (like Sonic Youth's Goo) would be a success.

In the end, Nirvana knocked Michael Jackson's Dangerous out of the top spot on Billboard charts and the album went on to sell over 30 million copies.