Putumayo World Music - The Basics:
Putumayo World Music is a record label founded by Dan Storper in 1993. Putumayo produces musical compilations centered around various themes. These themes can be geographical (Putumayo Presents Paris
focuses on music of that city), genre-based (Putumayo Presents Gypsy Groove
focuses on modern gypsy music), and more.
Putumayo World Music - The Cover Art:
What many people first notice about the Putumayo collection is the bright and colorful cover art. All of Putumayo's CD covers have been created by an artist named Nicola Heindl. Her art is both folky and modern, and, according to the Putumayo website, "represents one of Putumayo's goals: to connect the traditional to the contemporary."
Putumayo World Music - The Marketing Plan:
Part of Putumayo World Music's overall success in the music industry is the fact that, when it comes to product distribution, they've thought outside the box. Instead of relying on selling their product exclusively through record stores, they've created clever product displays in non-traditional CD outlets: toy stores, gift stores, clothing stores, and more. From a music business perspective, this choice is interesting, but from a world music supporter perspective, it's absolutely wonderful - by selling their CDs outside of traditional outlets, Putumayo has introduced perhaps millions of new people to world music.
Putumayo World Music - The Charity Connection:
Each CD release by Putumayo World Music is connected to a charity that in some way relates to the compilation, and a portion of the proceeds of the CD sales are donated to that charity. For example, a portion of the proceeds from Putumayo Presents the Caribbean
are donated to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti
Other Putumayo World Music Projects:
Since 2000, Putumayo has been producing the Putumayo World Music Radio Hour
, an internationally-broadcast program. In recent years, Putumayo has also been producing musical tours (often in conjunction with CD releases), and has assisted in the creation of an offshoot label called Cumbancha, which produces full-length CDs instead of compilations.
"Guaranteed to Make You Feel Good":
Putumayo guarantees that every CD they make will "make you feel good." It's no joke - if you don't dig it, you can return it to the company for a refund.
Putumayo also makes a line of children-specific world music. These albums are a favorite among parents who aren't generally such fans of kids' music; they intentionally include songs that are kid-appropriate but adult-friendly. Putumayo Kids CDs are a favorite for parents looking to introduce their children to the music of other cultures.
Putumayo World Music Official Website