FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


What does the word ‘Putumayo’ mean?
Putumayo is a river that begins in the South American country of Colombia and flows along the border of Ecuador and Peru until it reaches the Amazon in Brazil. Putumayo’s founder, Dan Storper, was traveling through the region in 1974, and was so enamored with its beauty, he decided to name his new handicraft shop after it.  The etymological origins of the word Putumayo in Quechua (indigenous Indian language) are as follows: Mayu (or Mayo) means “River” and Putu can mean either a gourd for drinking chicha, which is a homemade corn/maize liquor, or “nace” (birth) or “sale” (leaves). Therefore, the Quechuan origins of the Putumayo word could be understood to mean either a gourd river or “birth of the river.” Another literal meaning of the word Putumayo is a heron (type of bird).

Read more on the history of Putumayo World Music.

Where can I buy Putumayo CDs?
To buy directly from Putumayo please visit our Online Shop. If you would like to order by phone please call (888)-995-9588 ext. 269 between the hours of 9:30am and 5:30pm EST. Putumayo CDs are also available in thousands of specialty, record, gift, and book stores around the world.

Europe: Please visit the Fairly Trading web store to purchase Putumayo CDs.
Australia: Please e-mail australia@putumayo.com to contact a Putumayo representative in Australia.

Can I buy Putumayo albums on iTunes?
Yes! Select recent releases are now available digitally around the world on iTunes. Please visit www.itunes.com/putumayo and www.itunes.com/putumayokids. Due to licensing restrictions, we are not able to offer all of our albums on iTunes.

What if I purchase a CD I don’t love?
Putumayo’s products are protected by our Feel Good Guarantee. If you are not entirely satisfied with any purchase of a Putumayo CD, you may return it to Putumayo for a full refund. Send the CD, along with your receipt of purchase and your address to: Putumayo World Music, Attn: Consumer Returns, 801 Woodland Street, Columbia, TN 38401.

I’m a retailer and want to sell Putumayo CDs in my store. How do I do this?
Putumayo World Music develops partnerships with distributors and retailers around the world. Our goal is to create an environment in stores where customers can hear our upbeat, melodic compilations of great international music that are “guaranteed to make you feel good!”
I am a retailer or distributor and wish to sell Putumayo products in my store(s) (link opens in a new window).

How does Putumayo decide what projects to release?
There are a number of factors that go into Putumayo’s decisions regarding what compilations to release. We try to select themes that will have broad appeal and that cover an area of particular musical and cultural interest. We also try to balance out our annual release schedule with a diverse mix of titles that cover a wide range of musical genres. Putumayo World Music’s goal is to introduce people to other cultures through melodic, upbeat music from around the world.

How does Putumayo decide what songs to include on their CDs?
Putumayo has a database of more than 30,000 songs we have collected over the years. Jacob Edgar, an ethnomusicologist and longtime Putumayo researcher, and Putumayo founder/CEO, Dan Storper, research music for each project. Dan chooses the songs and invites Putumayo staff around the world to comment on them during listening sessions. Dan makes the final selections and creates a musical sequence of songs that he hopes people will enjoy.

How does Putumayo select the charities and causes it supports?
Putumayo endeavors to raise awareness and support for organizations that help improve the quality of life in regions where the music comes from. With that in mind, we tie in financial and other support to specific albums and organizations that relate to those albums.

How do I submit a demo for consideration?
We are always interested in discovering high-quality music from around the world. We try to send a letter or email confirming receipt of the demo no later than six weeks after receipt. If you do not receive a letter of confirmation in 8 weeks, then please resend your material. We receive so much great music there’s no way we could include it all, but if we find something we like that might work on a compilation we’ll get in touch with you. Please send physical demos only. We do not accept digital submissions at this time. To submit demo music please send to:

Putumayo World Music
Attn: A&R
413 Carpenter Rd
Charlotte, VT 05445
USA

How can I book a Putumayo artist for a show or event?
The artists who appear on our collections are not signed to Putumayo World Music. They or their producer or label have given us permission to include their song on a particular project. However, Putumayo works with a number of artists that appear on our compilations. If you are looking for a particular artist, please send an inquiry to info@putumayo.com.

Where can I find the full lyrics or a musical transcription of one of the songs on your CDs?
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide the full lyrics or musical transcriptions for most of the songs on our albums. Due to legal and space considerations, we only include short excerpts that give you a sense of what the song is about. For full lyrics, if they are available, we suggest you contact the source label or visit the artist’s website. When available, both source label and artist websites are listed in the licensing credits of our CDs.

Where can I learn about licensing Putumayo music for film, TV, and more?
Visit our Sync Licensing page or email licensing@putumayo.com to learn more!