Better than the Van leverages social networking to make touring economical
The biggest expense touring bands face is lodging. Motel rooms, even shitty ones, aren't cheap. Sometime you can sleep in the van, but let's face it -- that sucks for a multitude of reasons, even though it's cheap. What is cheap and doesn't usually suck is crashing on the floor, couch or (if you're very lucky) guest bedroom of a fan. That's great if you've played a city three or four times and made some friends, but doesn't work too well if you're a new band going to a new town.
Until now, anyway.
As the video above explains, Better than the Van is a new social networking tool for touring bands and fans of genuinely independent music. It's simple: fans with space sign up to host bands, bands on tour register, a search and a few e-mails later band meets music fan, band has place to sleep, fan has some sweet stories to tell his/her hipster friends. And obviously if you host a band at your house, you're going to go see them play -- and maybe bring all of your cool friends. Everyone wins.
There's also a feature allowing bands to "show swap," basically helping each other set up shows in each other's hometowns. It's an incredibly simple idea -- putting bands in touch with each other and with the fans in a way that simultaneously reduces their biggest expense, puts them in touch with a potential fanbase and/or group of colleagues and all but sets up the afterparty for them. That's a clever leveraging of the personal connection between bands and fans that's one of the key elements of the emerging indie paradigm.
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