Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

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Youtube Copyright Violation, Prince, Van Morrison and an Impossible Task

Greets friends. I spent the morning studying more blogs and articles about the Youtube copyright issues, videos and accounts and cane up with interesting info.

Prince and Van Morrison Zero Tolerance for YouTube Videos

Prince and Van Morrison have a zero tolerance policy and hired a company called “Web Sheriff” to police unauthorized videos on Youtube and get videos and maybe even accounts deleted.

On the Wikepedia page, Web Sheriff claims that CD sales were better than ever since the pulling down of these videos.

Web Sheriff, this is bullshit. Sales were better? Better as compared to what?

D’oh #1: If you are comparing an artists sales to that of his last CD, you have to factor in that the presence of the videos you deleted could have in fact contributed to the new sales. Logic strikes again.

D’oh #2: I searched on Youtube for “Prince Purple Rain” a few years later the alleged “web sheriff sweep” and found 5012 related videos to “Prince Purple Rain”. Wow you guys did a great job of really cleaning up the unauthorized videos. πŸ™‚

D’oh #3: Compared to artists who don’t have stuff removed? Do many artists who have stuff up on YT for free sell better or worse than those whom you have helped with your service? The point is, we DON’T KNOW if Van Morrison is selling more than people who are freely all over YouTube.

Van Morrison and Prince pay you guys, so of course you’ll say they are getting their money’s worth. They are your clients!

Fighting Mother Nature and Losing
Two “mother nature” issues come to mind. Man usually loses battles with nature.

It looks like eliminating one copyright violator is akin to stepping on one stray roach when 10,000 are lurking behind the stove of each apartment in an infested building. And, weeds which are fragile and weak will bust their way up and grow through concrete. Nature wins over man.

With 200,000 videos uploaded daily, and about 300 MILLION youtube accounts, do you really think that even eliminating 1, 1000 or even 10,000 accounts will put a dent in the copyright issue? The sheer numbers show the impossibility of your endeavors.

Copyrighted material getting uploaded to YT is like weeds growing. There is no stopping it. There’s no stopping newcomers and those who don’t know the rules.

If I get suspended today, I could open up 100 accounts on YT tomorrow and put videos up again. It’s like the 1977 New York blackout. People can walk into stores and take stuff (looting) because no one can stop them.

And, if Youtube is losing $470 million a year (according to Credit-Suisse) the whole thing is this weird, entertaining losing game.

As the artilce says at the end, “YouTube and its fellow user-contributed sites really did change the world. Too bad nobody could find a way to pay for it.”


According to Wiki Answers, here are some interesting (but unfounded) stats:

Total number of YouTube videos — over 120,000,000

Number of videos uploaded per day — about 200,000

Time required to see all the videos — over 600 years

Number of videos watched daily — over 200,000,000

Amount of content uploaded every minute — 13 hours

Number of accounts on YouTube — over 300,000,000

Percentage of videos violating copyright — over 12%

The top categories of uploaded videos — music 20%,
entertainment 15%, people/blogs 14%, comedy 13%
sports 7%, educational 6%, automotive 5%, film 5%

The source of videos — amateur 80%, professional
(meaning “partners”) 15%, commercial/corporate 5%

Top countries uploading videos — United States 35%,
United Kingdom 7%, Philippines 4%, all of the these
countries have around 3%: Australia, Brazil, Canada,
France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Turkey



How Big Goals Define Your Daily Activities

Wow gang! I just looked over my blog a year back to kind of see “what was on my mind” and much to my surprise I saw that it has been a year (364 days) to be exact, since the passing of Michael Jackson’s death.

Before his untimely death, I had sent in requests to publishers for permission to do tabs and maybe a guitar DVD of his music. Ironically, I’ll be editing the new “Jackson 5” guitar instructional DVD tomorrow, June 25, the one year anniversary of his passing.

This post is not about MJ though. It’s about the goal setting process and differentiating between “urgent” and “important”.

Today, I woke up with my brain slightly scrambled. Meaning, I have 5 or 6 things on my to-do list and was not sure what to do first. However, it has become an instinct to ask myself “What is necessary to achieving my big goals” and “what is an A level, must-do task and what can wait?” and even “what can I drop completely?”

But you gotta have big goals to do this properly πŸ™‚

The “what’s necessary in terms of achieving my big goals” a good approach that I have practiced by studying my success gurus like Brian Tracy and Jack Canfield. Writing an inspired blog entry is important to me, so I am attacking this first.

In younger years, I’d respond to the “urgent” rather than the “important”. For example, laundry could seem urgent. Or getting CDRs from Staples could seem urgent. Or, getting the coolest new gadget was urgent. Or doing cool rollovers for my website buttons could seem urgent.

These would be “contained” activities – meaning, once they were accomplished it was like a stand-alone 30 minute sitcom episode which ended. No relation to yesterday or tomorrow, and tomorrow is the same problem of meaninglessness all over again.

When people follow the “urgent” they end up not doing the really “important” stuff. But, if one doesn’t have big goals and life is meaningless, dealing with the “urgent” at least can add temporary meaning or be a nice distraction. With no goals, we can’t even define what the important stuff is.

That’s a very unsatisfying way to live. After a year one asks “what the hell have I done this past year?” . I’ve had people like that in my life and I see their deep unhappiness and neurosis and want to tell them “you gotta have goals!”

So in looking at that one year old blog, I see that I had a big goal – a Michael Jackson flavored guitar DVD. I even put the DVD on my Photoshop “Vision Board” by making a mock DVD cover. It’s satisfying now to see that I have been following through all this time.

Over this past year each small step has led me closer to the fruition of yet another satisfying goal – producing a Jackson 5 Guitar DVD. I see that by having the vision of this DVD, I scheduled and followed through with “important” things instead of reacting to “urgent” things.

Some examples of “important” things that were grunt work for this project

– several emails back and forth with publishers
– entering, editing, and laying out the notated sheet music and tabs
– practicing the music
– rehearsing the actual video lessons
– designing myself, but then hiring a real designer for the DVD cover and disc
– moving Youtube videos to a second video site in case of copyright problems
– rethinking my e-commerce shopping art situation (current phase)
– shooting and editing video (current phase)
– getting DVDs manufactured (still to do)

So…I encourage you to think about BIG goals. Why? Not for the money, but because life is all the more satisfying when you live this way.

Whether it’s a creating painting, a DVD, raising a family or even being a great pre school teacher – when you set a goal and achieve it, you get to look at life and know yourself to be a “creator”. The process of “how you proceed” is more important than the “what you are doing”.

To know oneself as a “creator” rather than a “victim / reactor” is empowering and inspiring, and highly recommended! And through this muddle of goals, making a living, and brain work, our souls and actually learn something very profound in the realm of spirit when we can fully declare “I am Creator”.

Now…get to work! πŸ™‚


Jackson Five Guitar DVD Update – Video Shoot Done…Edits on the Way!

Greets Friends! I hope you are feeling good and having a great summer so far!

I am back in NYC after all my road travels this year and am buckling down with the JACKSON 5 DVD production. “Lights, camera – action” was last week. This upcoming week myself and the team will be editing ferociously to get this ready as soon as possible.

I’ll post updates as we progress.

I feel really good about this project and one of the most important things to me is the sensation “of a job well done.” I thank you for loving these songs originally posted on YouTube, and commenting in such an encouraging way. I hope that if you are a guitarist, you’ll enjoy learning these solo arrangements.

Here’s one of the tunes that will be on the DVD, fully tabbed and walked through slowly…Enjoy!

These Jackson 5 songs have now been officially “road tested” i.e. all those gigs on tour and hours in hotels playing the arrangements over and over (and over) really paid off.

You’d be amazed how over time, adjusting a fingering here and there “puts the polish” on the tunes. All too often I have uploaded to YouTube too soon after just learning the song – posting rough draft of sorts. The slow brew and aging turns the tunes into “fine wine”. Well, I think I am a proud Daddy! This process really takes time…

You might like to know something quite interesting that most people would never think of – I had to rehearse my spoken teaching through the songs for a week. This was crazy work! Guitar was easy…speaking on camera was hard (at first).

I think all the dust mites and my couch now can play my four Jackson 5 arrangements πŸ™‚ Seriously though, I spoke through the teaching every day for a week so that I could easily clarify points and concepts in front of the camera. Glad I did. The lessons rolled off my tongue pretty easily at the shoot!

At first glance at the playback, the sound and image looked awesome and I suspect this will be a totally kickin’ instructional DVD. You are in for a treat! The coffee did wear off during the last song, but I think we all pulled through πŸ™‚

I’ll post again as the editing is underway to let you know what’s happening and recount comical moments.


Awakening to Your Own Inner Harmony

Greets friends!

I am in the midst of preparing my Jackson 5 Guitar Instructional DVD and am really excited about the music. I am totally immersed in, and enjoying the teaching process of this music – and finding myself in a very feel-good place.

Funny though, as a young classical guitar player I was never able to dig into the music on the level that I do now. As I look back, I think – “what was the difference?” I am really truly happy now – but was not happy back in the day. What am I doing right, and what was I doing wrong? πŸ™‚

I recently returned from a guitar festival in Bermuda where I got to hear and hang out with a great classical guitar duo – the Brasil Guitar Duo. Awesome musically and technically. You could feel their 100% commitment to the music. This made me think…what are they doing that I wasn’t?

I just let the cat out of the bag! But let’s rewind…

Many times, as I played classical guitar I felt a “veil” between myself and the music. a feeling of “I’ll never get it” or “it’s too hard” or something. This was very frustrating for me as a young player. I loved love classical guitar recordings – but somehow feel “locked out”.

I feel totally the opposite with the Jackson 5 music I am preparing for the DVD. By now, my cat should be able to play the songs after having heard the instruction ad nauseum.

As I teach this the music, I am constantly thinking to myself, “what inner message must the student realize in order to play this music, and how can I convey this?”

The music is not exactly easy. It’s a full plate of technical, rhythmic, and melodic challenges. These are delicious musical puzzles that I have figured out. But what is it on the inner plane that has enabled me to play this music – and what must the student do?

The answer is simple. Isn’t it always?

One must LOVE IT enough that they are willing to do the work.

Knowing what you love means that you are awake to your INNER harmony. Not what you think is “cool” or “interesting” – but that which touches your heart and soul.

This sounds simple and easy – and it is when you allow it. But – fear regarding the approval of others (teachers, parents, peer group etc) can twist, distort and hinder you. Or fear of survival (I’ll never make a living doing that) or fear of control (how will I do that consistently) can derail you.

Even as a jazz player, my soul would really light up when I was deep in a blues zone, or a funk zone, or an authentic bebop zone. At other times I’d feel “off”.

But – once you care about the approval of others and compromise your honesty, you’re lost.

And so it was for me with classical guitar – as I see in retrospect. I love the beauty of the art, but I never had the feeling of 100% commitment and love for the music. Not enough to put me over the top!!!

But enough about me….more about YOU.

What do YOU love? When no one’s watching and no one can comment – what is your love, your dream? What would you do for no money? What would you do if you only had 6 months to live? Answer that honestly and you can achieve anything.

And that’s why I have the strength to practice Jackson 5, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder songs for hours on end. I love it that much. I am willing to do the work. And – I’d do it without getting paid! 100% commitment…and the hell with what anyone thinks!

In the words of Joseph Campell…”Follow Your Bliss”. Awaken to your inner harmony, and watch the world roll at your feet. The previously impossible and insurmountable become easy, delicious and inevitable.


A Financial Solution for Youtube and Music Publishers

The music industry always seems to drag its feet. Often, they want new technology to work the old way. They want to jam that square peg in the round hole, no matter what. A new way – suggested below – would make them a ton of money. Are they smart enough and forward thinking enough to try it?

In the past, the music publishers have made a “ka-ching” off each play of a song on the radio or tv, they’ve sold CD’s and licensed songs to others to record. Because of this narrow way to make money, they see the Youtube cover artists as threats in the following way:

1) “The unlicensed song is getting millions of hits, and we’re not making out money for each play. This means the creator is our enemy, taking away from OUR publishing. Oh no, plays of our song are not making money.”

Based on the false premise

2) “If we eliminate the people doing cover material, viewers will want to watch the ORIGINAL artist, so lets eliminate the people who do cover material, to create the only endpoint possible – our original artist performing the song.”

Another premise, pretty weak

3) “If people see ONLY the original artist performing their tune, then they’ll want to buy the original artist on CD, mp3, etc.”

The solution that occurs after these false premises:

4) “Let’s cut off people who do covers, as it dilutes our sales.”

They have it so backwards and essentially are not coming up with a creative solution. Guess what guys, the internet shook up your world. Deal with it, and adapt.


Instead of seeing musicians doing cover material as “the competition, the enemy, and the blame for no sales” – embrace them as the NEW customers. If you can’t sell CDs, why not sell licensing to cover artists? It’s your new product, and you have a new customer base who have identified themselves.

Imagine – for $9.99 a year, anyone can license a song to do as a cover on YT. Then it’s legal, won’t get deleted, and will create a NEW income for the industry. Instead of alienating the new group of YT musicians, why not get them on board as customers?

“Do’h! Why didn’t we think of that?”

Youtube, c’mon you guys are Google. Use the already existing Harry Fox, Warner, UMG and other publisher databases to make a nifty control panel insnde YT. You could even have a cool url like, and you could charge via Paypal or credit cards. Keeping a database of which user has performed what song is easy. Then divvy the money up with the publishers once it gets onto your side and leaves our hands.

Let’s say I pay $9.99 yearly for a song like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Well, someone like Sungha Jung sees me do that and also pays $9.99 a year for the tune when he does a version. He gets 5 million hits. I think you’ll get a few more $9.99’s a year after other people get excited and motivated. Now Sungha and I also do it on our CD’s because we have a fan base, hungry for the tune.

Suddenly you are not selling CDS, you are selling licenses for YT performance but who cares. It’s better than CDs, you need not manufacture anything – and YT viewers are your FREE advertising agancy. You could be making some serious dough, YT and publishers. But you gotta think outside the box!!!

Oh, and by the way all the “Billie Jean” official viewers can now see ads that you could overlay on the video.

Oh, and by the way you can target ads. If you see I have done 5 MIchael Jackson tunes, you can make smart suggestions to me.

Oh, and by the way you can see which songs are most popular amongst musicians…and so on, and so on.

And what if someone puts up a version without paying? No sweat, first send a notification to get the person on board and pay, then if they don’t – remove the video. Give them 21 days to decde. A potential customer has identified themselves. Don’t alienate them, embrace them!!!

This is not hard to implement, but takes creativity and a willingness to do a new thing. YT, publishers – you have identified a new customer base. People who do cover songs! So sell ’em something!!! Don’t cut em off and whine that CD sales are slumping!

I have about 40 cover tunes and the list is growing. I’d pay $400 a year in a hearbeat to have those tunes on YT, legally, and I bet others would too. If I had 100 tunes, I’d pay $1000 no sweat. Over 10 years, that would be $10K in income for you, earned off one guy – me. That’s way more than I’d spend on CD’s. It’s waiting there for you. And I would not be the only one!

Anyhow, just a thought. All the whining and moaning won’t make it “the way it was” so it’s time for you guys to get creative.

Until next time, keep Swingin’



Adam Rafferty and Tommy Emmanuel – “Tenderly” – Helsinki, Finland April 3, 2009

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Greets friends! Vid with Tommy playing a gorgeous version of “Tenderly”. Tommy always says how much he loves the Chet Atkins & Lenny Breau version, & he always tells me to check it out!

Video provided by


Adam Rafferty – Superstition by Stevie Wonder – Solo Guitar

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Original arrangement of a classic, fun & funky Stevie Wonder Tune!

Instructional DVD with tabs (fully licensed) is now available at

See trailer of DVD here on Youtube!

FREE Guitar Lessons and Tabs Available at

Connect With Adam Now!

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Stevie Wonder Solo Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements Lesson DVD with Tablature – Adam Rafferty

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This DVD is fully legally licensed and sync rights for all songs have been purchased from EMI publishing.


Crescent Ridge Publishing Announces a Very Special DVD Release…

“How to Play the Music of Stevie Wonder – Arrangements for Solo Fingerstyle Guitar” taught by Adam Rafferty is available for pre-release sale!

Learn “Superstition”, “I Wish”, “Overjoyed” and “Sir Duke” note for note – in the comfort of your own home.

Here’s what You’ll get…

– 110 minute DVD with performances and in depth lessons for “Superstition”, “Overjoyed”, “I Wish” and “Sir Duke”
– Move by move, note for note explanations of the arrangements
– Split Screen Views of Right and Left Hand for easy understanding
– A 30 page booklet with complete tablature and notation
– Easy to undserstand explantions of “pop”, “click” and “slap” techniques
– Explanations of walking basslines, harp like chords and groove techniques
– Easily learn at YOUR own pace in YOUR own home when YOU want to!

To find out more about this exciting DVD, visit

To receive Free Tablature via Adam’s “Acoustic Guitar Mastery Newsletter”

– The Crescent Ridge Publishing Team


Adam Rafferty – “I Want You Back” – Jackson 5 – Solo Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar

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Hope you enjoy this one. I love this tune, another 70s soul tune by The Jackson 5. The arrangement is brand new…but since I was practicing over and over I figured what the heck…video time!!!

Little Michael Jackson is singin’ his butt off on this! Listening to the original puts a BIG smile on my face…I hope I can pass the smile on to YOU.

I played this song on a Cole Clark Fat Lady Guitar (FL 2AC), and recorded audio on a Studio Projects C3 Mic into Digital Performer.

Enjoy, and contact me anytime!!!!

– Adam

FREE Guitar Lessons and Tabs Available at

Connect With Adam Now!


Adam Rafferty – “Rock With You” – Michael Jackson – Solo Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar

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Greetings! I had been working on this one now for a few weeks prior to MJ’s untimely death yesterday. What a drag!

Thanks to Youtube I have fallen in love with his music all over again these past couple of years…since the original “Billie Jean” video I made. Tune after tune, I find MJ to be an amazing genius of music. Really!

It was only fitting to video and upload this song today, as it was the next on my list anyway! This is my musical prayer for MJ’s soul, and for the comfort of his family who must be grieving terribly.

I hope you enjoy this music.

MJ You had a tough life, abusive parents, no childhood to speak of and lived with unbelievable stress and emotional damage. May your soul find peace and rest. (Farrah and Ed – may you find rest too…what a week this has been!)

Thank you for the grooves, the melody, the dancing and the soundtrack of my childhood. So many smiles, happy times and parties – even tears, made life feel like “technicolor” thanks to you, MJ.

I played this song on a Cole Clark Fat Lady Guitar (FL 2AC), and recorded audio on a Studio Projects C3 Mic into Digital Performer.

Enjoy, and contact me anytime!!!!

– Adam

FREE Guitar Lessons and Tabs Available at

Connect With Adam Now!