So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. As you can follow from my tweets, posts, and channel comments, I honestly thought I would be making videos again by now. But, so far, life has had other plans. Let me explain why.
Another Personal Transformation??
So I became a Christian again. ba dum tss.
Seriously, though, as I am sure many of my fellow deconverts can attest: deconversion is not necessarily the end of our greatest personal transformations. And I continue to be blown away by the colossal shifts in my perception of the world and my resulting growth as a human being. Right now I am experiencing those shifts at break-neck speed primarily on a social and professional level.
In terms of my social identity, I am improving things about myself that I never before knew could be improved nor how to improve them. It is a domino effect that rocks the way I have perceived social situations since I was a child. Needless to say, such a shift is going to be time intensive at first.
I would love to make videos about it someday. However, even after I finish this chapter of transformation, there is another issue.
I Don’t Want Money to Matter, but It Does
Whether I want it to or not, money matters. I’m now living in a city where the rent prices are so high they give any normal, sane person an aneurism on their first exposure. I’m also now paying back the student loans that I racked up while getting my PhD and making the original Evid3nc3 videos.
I think it is awesome that my videos are free to the public. I have received so many messages from people who have told me that my videos changed their lives, gave them guidance, changed the way they think, helped them empathize with Christians, or showed them that they were not alone in their deconversion.
However, the reality is, each one of those videos takes weeks of painstaking work. Work that I’m not sure I can afford to invest uncompensated anymore. But how could I get paid and still make the material widely accessible? This is something we are trying to tackle as a society with freely accessible Internet content in general. And, as Sam Harris has touched on, the problem hasn’t yet been solved in a way that satisfyingly meets the needs of creators and audiences alike.
But wait, Chris, you may be thinking, why don’t you just become a YouTube partner? I can’t. Which brings me to the final issue.
The Current Systems for Licensing Music Are Rigid and Antiquated
This is how music licensing should work: I should be able to license a song for use in my video and, if I make money off of that video, the creator of that song should receive a percentage of my revenue identical to the percentage of the video that their song contributes. For example, if someone uploads a video that just plays a song and does nothing else, the song creator should receive 100% of that person’s revenue. Or, if it is background music, as in my videos, the creator should only receive 5-10% of my revenue, since I am doing by far most of the heavy lifting in writing, voice work, graphics, and video production. Determining those percentages is not trivial but I am confident algorithms can and will someday be made. Startup ideas, anyone?
Anyhow, right now, if I want to license a song for use in my videos, I have to drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars before I see a dime of revenue personally. Which, as an independent amateur video producer, is absurd.
I am currently able to use music in my videos only because the content is free and for educational purposes only. As soon as I change that, licensing becomes an issue.
Why don’t you make your videos music-free?
Well, one reason: too late. The music is already there. So I would have to take the videos down and reproduce them without music and my time is already constrained. Also, music is just too powerful a tool for communicating human emotions. I feel like I would be letting go of too much of what I want to communicate if I left the music out.
Why don’t you use copyright free music?
I haven’t found a consistent set of high quality copyright free music that I like. Also, using scores that people are familiar with from feature films or general popularity adds a depth of meaning that I can’t necessarily get with lesser-known artists. I’ve also experimented with making my own music but it is too time consuming.
I can’t help but be frustrated at how mutually beneficial it would be for myself and song creators if licensing worked the way I outlined at the beginning of this section.
So That’s It Then? No More Videos until These Problems Are Solved?
Not necessarily. The responses I’ve received from people have convinced me that the videos are important and helpful enough to continue whether or not I receive monetary compensation for them directly. And if working on the videos seems like the best next step in my own tumultuous series of personal transformations, I will.
Also, if you have ideas, experience, or expertise for solving the above problems, I do welcome them.