Putumayo World Music was established in 1993 to introduce people to the music of the world’s cultures. The label was started as an offshoot of the Putumayo clothing and handicraft company, after its founder, Dan Storper, was surprised by the extraordinary response to the international music he had begun playing in his stores. Putumayo’s meticulously researched and curated musical journeys were so successful that, in 1997, Storper sold the clothing company so he could focus his attention on the music business. For the past 25 years, Putumayo has been known for its joyful compilations of great international music that support the company’s motto: “Guaranteed to make you feel good!”
Jon Egan has music in his blood, an avid music fan from a young age his involvement in the industry started back in the 80s when he managed a chain of music stores. That set him on a path that continues today with Putumayo. His history with Putumayo began in 1994 when he became one of Putumayo’s first retailers, selling Putumayo CDs from his import stores in New Orleans, an ideal retail environment for selling world music. In 2007 Jon and his family returned to his native Australia where he continued his association with Putumayo by becoming the Australian distributor.
Putumayo’s distinctive CD covers feature the colorful art of British illustrator Nicola Heindl, whose folkloric style illuminates the company’s mission: to connect the traditional and the contemporary through music and art. By combining appealing music and striking visual aesthetics with creative retail marketing, Putumayo has developed a unique brand identity, a rarity in today’s artist-based music industry.
Putumayo is considered a music industry pioneer and leader in developing the non-traditional retail market and has built a global network of more than 5,000 book, gift, craft, clothing, health food and other specialty retailers that play its music and sell its CDs. Storper’s vision of establishing a global company and lifestyle brand has been furthered with offices in the Europe, Latin America and Australia and distribution in more than 80 countries.
The company’s commitment to helping communities in the countries where the music originates has led to the label contributing more than one million dollars to non-profit organizations around the world.
The Putumayo Kids division was created to introduce children to other cultures through fun, upbeat world music. Since the release of the World Playground CD in 1999, Putumayo Kids has become one of the world’s leading children’s record labels, winning critical acclaim and honors from Parents’ Choice Awards, American Library Association and many others. The division expanded its globally-themed product offerings in 2011 with African, Latin American and European-themed coloring books that make learning about music and culture fun. With its growing collection of children’s albums and other cultural products, Putumayo Kids inspires children’s curiosity about the world.
In 2000, Putumayo launched the first commercially-syndicated world music radio show, the Putumayo World Music Hour now heard on more than 150 commercial and non-commercial stations internationally. In 2012, SiriusXM began airing The World Playground with Putumayo, a bi-weekly children’s radio show.