Michael Kraus, Co-founder of Putumayo World Music, had been a good friend of Dan Storper’s for 20 years when Dan approached him in October of 1992 and said, “I want to start a record label, but I don’t want to do it without you.” Soon thereafter, Michael joined Dan to launch Putumayo World Music and establish a non-traditional sales division. Michael travels throughout the U.S. and the world working closely with Putumayo’s distributors, training its sales representatives and helping develop the non-traditional market.

Michael studied at the University of Missouri where he earned his Bachelors of Music Education in 1964 and his Masters of Music in 1966. Before and after his graduate studies, Michael worked in Puerto Rico with the Antilles Consolidated School System as Supervisor of Music and Director of Bands. While in Puerto Rico, Michael also pursued his artistic interests, playing bass trombone with legends like Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liza Minelli, and Diana Ross.

In New York City, Michael worked as Sales, Marketing and Production Manager at McGillivray & Merrick, a music production company producing original music for radio and television. He then worked at Carl Fischer, the music publishing company, where his multiple roles included Director of Education, Promotional Director, and National Sales Director. Representing Carl Fischer, he often directed workshops for music educators specializing in curriculum development and classroom teaching techniques.

Michael’s other business endeavors helped lay the groundwork for his role at Putumayo. He owned and operated several Central Park concessions that included food, merchandise and roller-skating. Before joining Putumayo, he also managed the Catch a Rising Star comedy club, where Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and Ray Romano were just a few of the notable performers that graced the stage before being discovered.

Michael’s continued passion for music education is reflected in his position as Guest Instructor of the Music Business program at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. He enthusiastically supports Dan’s vision of fostering a global company and lifestyle brand that introduces people to the music of the world’s cultures. It’s no surprise that Michael & Dan are still very good friends.