Music of the World was formed in New York in the early 80s by Bob Haddad to promote and produce musicians from diverse traditional backgrounds. The company began by presenting ethnic musicians in concert, and by recording high quality cassettes which were used for promotional purposes and sold at performances.
During these early years, and before a commercial consciousness of “world music” had developed, Music of the World was the only world music-based cassette label available in the West. Its catalog rapidly expanded to include artists from Africa, India, and Latin America, and in addition to opening accounts with major retailers across the USA, the company was even exporting its recordings for overseas distribution. In 1989, Haddad relocated the label from Brooklyn, NY to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was here where the label would see unprecedented growth. In that same year, the first two CDs were released on the Music of the World label. Over the next ten years, almost 90 more CD titles were released, and distribution grew to include 19 countries worldwide.
The mid-90s were peak years for the label, and were marked by the commercial success of several recordings, including the award-winning “Vintage Beausoleil” (Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil; The Grammy-nominated “Raga Aberi” (with L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram; and one of the label’s best selling recordings, “Talking Spirits” (various Native American artists). In addition to the premier Music of the World (MOW) label, two label imprints were born during this period of growth. Nomad Records features modern world music and world jazz, and Latitudes is a mid-price label featuring single-artist releases and compilations of traditional world music.
In 2000, shortly after the emergence of Napster and during a time of great difficulty for independent record labels, Music of the World was acquired by digital download leader emusic.com. Today, the entire MOW catalog is available for download at www.emusic.com, now part of The Orchard. Currently, physical copies of Music of the World, Nomad and Latitudes CDs are hard to find at stores, although internet suppliers such as amazon.com still carry many titles.