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Bold New Business Model From Smithereens’ DiNizio

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Billboard relates Pat DiNizio’s subscription plan:

    New Jersey-based artist Pat DiNizio, lead singer/songwriter of the Smithereens, has founded Patrons & Artists Together, a boutique entertainment partnership meant to fund his recording and touring projects and reward participants with a unique music experience, as well as provide free music via the Internet. Limited to 100 subscribers at a cost of $1,200 each, the program offers CD releases that will not be available through conventional channels, private concerts, and more.

    ….Once underway, subscribers will receive a numbered and autographed copy of the two-disc set “This Is Pat DiNizio,” which the artist says was equally inspired by the Beatles’ “White Album” and the Rick Rubin-produced “American Recordings” albums by Johnny Cash. Subsequent albums — including “Dark Standards,” an album of standards on which DiNizio is backed by a jazz quartet and big band, a remix set, a Christmas album, a children’s album, and a collection of demos for the next Smithereens release — will follow approximately every four months.

    Subscribers will also receive 50 copies of each album to distribute to friends and family members. Abbreviated versions of the releases will also appear online for free download by the general public, along with CD artwork.

    Beyond the recorded music, DiNizio will perform a private “living room concert” for each patron, which includes DVD and audio copies of the performance for all in attendance. Each show will be coupled with a fund raising or charity performance to benefit a local organization of the patron’s choice. Other perks include Smithereens tickets and backstage passes, and Patrons & Artists Together t-shirts.

This strikes me as close to the pre-modern European patron model for artists, so I’m not sure if it’s a great leap forward or back to the future, but regardless, if you are willing to spend the bucks you can get way up close and personal with Pat. I am very curious as to what kind of response he will receive.

Check out Pat’s site here, including a most appealing greeter at his front door. Perhaps I have underestimated the appeal of bald bespectacled middle-aged rock semi-stars from New Jersey.

And by the way, the first Smithereens album, Especially For You, is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll albums of the ’80s with “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “In a Lonely Place” and “Blood and Roses,” cheek by jowl with each other on side two of the vinyl release. “Sleep” rocks: Jim Babjak’s guitar and Joe Kernich’s piano bash out classic riffs in unison against Dennis Diken’s huge backbeat and Pat DiNizio’s wounded, smoky vocals confiding unrequited love for a female bass player with “hair like Jeanie Shrimpton” and “legs that never end.”

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About Eric Olsen

  • Eric

    Interesting idea. Being a big Smithereens/DiNinzio fan, I wish I had $1200 to spare to join up.

    I agree, by the way, with your calling “Especially For You” one of the great rock albums. There really isn’t a clunker on the whole thing, and there were two bonus tracks on the CD. How bad can an album be when its got a song called “White Castle Blues” on it?

    “11” was the CD that got them the most attention, though… and the cover art was basically ripped off completely for the poster of the remake of “Oceans Eleven,” to boot.

  • Egbert Souse

    $1200? Elitist! Capitalist!! I love it!

  • COOP

    I just sent my PayPal payment! This is a brilliant idea.

  • Rob

    Drove all the way across Germany just to see the Smithereens play at the grosse Freiheit, great show! In a perfect world, these guys would be filling stadiums and touring endlessly. One of the greatest, most underrated bands of the last 20 years.

    Interesting idea, I can’t wait to see if DiNizio can pull it off.