Interview with Dan Storper (Putumayo)

German version of the interview with the founder of Putumayo follows.

DJR: How did the first Putumayo Sampler come up? What did you think and how did you get the songs and the licences?

Dan Storper, Founder of Putumayo Dan Storper: The first four Putumayo CD releases were created in collaboration with Rhino Records, an LA-based record company. I had known the owner through my membership in a non-profit group called the Social Venture Network. We selected the music and they did the licensing. They helped us understand the licensing process. After 18 months, they lost interest and we took it all over.

DJR: If you compare the time of the beginning and today: Has something changed in production and distribution of new samplers?

DS: We’ve been able to build a database of more than 10,000 songs that we like and have distribution of our CDs in more than 100 countries. In the beginning, most of this was a mystery and we only sold our CDs in the US for the first few years. We’ve always tried to develop the non-traditional market, but that has accelerated as we’ve opened offices around the world.

DJR: How did the typical Putumayo cover idea come up, which is criticized as kitschy by some reviewers (imho it’s beautiful)?

DS: I met Nicola Heindl, the illustrator, in 1992, as I was getting ready to start our CD series. She was a friend of one of my employees and I’d bought one of her greeting cards which I’d posted on my bulletin board. Her friend recognized her style and mentioned that Nicola was coming over to NY from London. We met and I asked her to do the first CD covers. People seemed to really like the results so we continued to use her. While there are some people who don’t love her style, most people seem to really like it and we feel it connects people to the music on our CDs in a visual way.

DJR: Your Putumayo Kids series are quite successfull. How did you get the idea and what do you guess made it so popular?

DS: Several of my friends told me that their young children enjoyed our regular CDs but thought that it would be even better if we created a CD oriented towards children. The first CD, World Playground, was a big success for us and we continued releasing children’s CDs since it came out in 1999. Much children’s music isn’t appreciated by adults. We sought music which would appeal to people of all ages and I think that is its particular appeal. We also offer multi-lingual liner notes in English, Spanish, French and German.

DJR: With the sale of every sampler a small amount is given to charity for social projects. Why is it important for you and how do you make up your choice?

DS: Since I was a member of the Social Venture Network, I was inspired by people like Anita Roddick of the Body Shop and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry to contribute a portion of our proceeds to worthwhile non-profits. We research NGO’s who work in the regions where the music originates and try to pick the group that seems to make the most positive impact. Our focus is children and improving the quality of life in communities.

DJR: What do you think is the future of Putumayo? Are there new ideas, new projects in the pipeline? What can we look foward to?

DS: We’re working on a children’s book and TV series as well as a Brazilian music TV special. Our hope is to get more involved in creating other cultural products such as books and DVD.

Balkanbeats Balkanpop Berlin Blogs Brazil Breakbeat CD-Tipp Cinematic Jazz Deep House DJ-Job DJ Culture DJR Download-Portal Electronic Electro Pop Electropop Electroswing Electro Swing Event Funk Hip Hop Hochzeit House Interview Jazz Köln Livemix Lounge Musiker Nu Jazz Party Pop & Rock Putumayo Rare Groove Reggae Ruhrgebiet Soul Swing Tech House Video Webradio Worldmusic Xone DX