Better Than The Van – Come Sleep On Our Couch – Q&A INTERVIEW

Todd Hansen, the founder of Better Than The Van, has done an interview with us on his company and what they do. The interview can be read after the break!

Todd Hansen, the founder of Better Than The Van, has done an interview with us on his company and what they do. The interview can be read after the break!

This is an awesome interview that we got to do with Todd Hansen, who is one of the founders of the startup Better Than The Van. Their website has helped out a lot of musicians and continues to help out more every day. If you’re a touring musician you need to read this interview and go check out their website at right now!

DTB: Can you state your name, company, and position?
BTTV: Todd Hansen / Better Than The Van / Founder

DTB: How long have as the company existed?
BTTV: About 3 years.

DTB: Can you explain what you guys do and the goals of your service?
BTTV: BTTV is music’s home for hospitality. You can find free places to stay in the US, Canada and Europe. You can host shows, bands and other music minded travelers. Plus you can directly connect with venues, fans and friends.

DTB: How does your service help touring musicians?
BTTV: Thoughout BTTV they can connect with the people, places and venues that will help keep them touring. We try to be a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for a place to stay, shows to play or wanting to connect with people/bands from other cities or countries.

DTB: Have musicians used your site in any unique ways that you didn’t originally intend as?
BTTV: Sure. I know a lot of bands who have started using it to book shows and a lot of smaller venues have set up venue pages to get some traction from younger bands on tour, looking to play shows. So there are variations on the theme, but we’re pretty straight forward about what BTTV can provide.

DTB: Is there a way for fans to report musicians that were not respectful when staying at their home?
Vis versa for fans?
BTTV: Totally. We have a commenting system (think Amazon) and a “Report” button on each profile, plus ample ways to connect with me and my co-founder Scott. So far, there’s been no bad news at all.

DTB: Do you think the full potential of your website has been reached?
BTTV: No. Those that use BTTV steer the ship in terms of what we do and how we grow. What we do is very niche’ but we have ideas on how to expand. It’s just making it happen.

DTB: What new features can we expect in the future?
– Calendaring system so you can see what days are booked with hosts.
– Integrations with Bands In Town and a (better) integration of SoundCloud.
– We’re working with the dudes at Indie on the Move on a couple ideas. Exciting stuff here…
– We are building a Tour Planner Dashboard to make it easier to plan tours and speed up a few processes on the site.

DTB: How much money per week do you think a musician/band could save on tour by using your
website? Please explain.
BTTV: If you figure that a motel that’s just above “rat den” level is about $40 a night and you tour for 2 weeks that’s $560. Throw in a few free meals you might get from a kind host and it can be around $6-$700 saved. That’s a nice chunk of cash. Case in point a music fest called the Savannah Stopover used BTTV exclusive to house all the bands 30+ that played over 3 days. For a lot of the smaller bands, it was a huge help and big reason they were able to come and play the fest.

DTB: How important do you think touring is in the current state of the music industry?
BTTV: I’ll echo Tom Windish here and say that’s it’s always been important but more so now. The live show experience and connection can’t be bootlegged and sold. It’s a scarcity that is genuine and important to building a band’s fan base and developing their sound.

DTB: Do you see it getting more important in the future?
BTTV: Yes, especially in smaller markets/cities as bigger markets get too competitive for you young/unestablished bands.

DTB: In your opinion, is social networking more important than touring?
BTTV: Nope. Social networks are great connection points and lend authenticity to a band. It’s always been a great thing when used in the right way. It certainly helps with during in regards to what BTTV does or how a band uses it to bring their fans “on the road” with them. But a live show will always win.

DTB: Do you have any other tips on how musicians/bands can save money on tour?
BTTV: Stick to a budget. Sounds lame, yes. But if you know how much you can spend and stick to it, then you’ll make money or break even. Have at least one person in the band treat it like a small business.