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Putumayo Music Founder Dan Storper On A World Of Music

Jorge Saravia
Dan Storper with TPR host Deirdre Saravia.

Putumayo albums are impossible to miss. Since it first appeared on store shelves, the series has featured the distinctive, colorful artwork of Nicola Heindl. Each musical track is exotic and always melodic.

Dan Storper is the founder and CEO of Putumayo, and the music his label releases reflects the musical tastes of the man. He's so certain that others will love each CD as much as he does, that if you don't, you can have your money refunded. According to Dan, each release is hand-curated to create a great listening experience: "It's not just pitching the songs [onto a disc], it's the sequencing."

Finding the right artists for each release is important, too. "Sometimes we're shocked that it's not as easy to come up with a dozen good songs that flow together," Storper says. Assembling the right compilation can be a challenge, and at one point Putumayo CDs tried focusing on an individual artist. That was one of the few missteps Putumayo made in its history, explains Storper: "I tell people that doing compilations is like dating, signing an artist is like getting married."

How did Dan Storper become so immersed in international music, what was the inspiration behind starting this line of an not particularly, commercial type of music? What’s the future of his brand as consumers increasingly look to downloads in favor of compact discs? With Putumayo CDs so intrinsic in the delivery of the Putumayo philosophy, "guaranteed to make you feel good," how does Dan Storper view the changing scene? "The experience of being able to listen in your car and different settings, it's more relaxing" referring to that exquisitely packaged and acoustically perfect CD in your player. Dan Storper addresses all these queries and more on an interview conducted at Putumayo headquarters in New York.

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Deirdre as born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and her first paid work was at the age of 10 with the BBC as an actress on "Children's Hour." She continued to perform regularly on radio and stage for the next eight years, at which point she was informed by her parents that theater was not an option and she needed "real" work.