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There is no doubt that modern technology is amazing. But sometimes, digital media can feel cold and impersonal. Most people would still rather receive a handwritten letter than an email from a loved one. And for many music lovers, digital downloads can bring about a sense of detachment from their favorite musicians. Kim Kaupe and Brittany Hodak understood the importance of the fan-artist connection, which is why they created ‘ZinePak.

Founded in 2011, the New York-based startup packages music CDs with original magazines and often exclusive merchandise like postcards and stickers. Kaupe, who formerly worked in magazine publishing, and Hodak, who came from the music industry, met at an ad agency and became friends.

Says Kaupe, “We both wanted to continue to explore our fields in a new way. We knew fans still wanted an experience with their favorite artists.” She adds that their product turns the experience of listening to an album “engaging” and “multi-sensory”.

Currently, ‘ZinePaks are only available at Walmart, whom the partners approached with their idea. It also helped that Hodak had formed key relationships at the retail chain through her previous post at Sony. The first ‘ZinePak, which Walmart requested, was an Academy of Country Music Awards bundle composed of two CDs, a magazine, postcards, and an awards ballot.

Since then, Hodak and Kaupe have created ‘ZinePaks for artists such as Selena Gomez, Rascal Flatts, and Scotty McCreery. This coming May 1st, a Beach Boys ‘ZinePak celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary is set to drop at Walmart stores and its website. The commemorative package will include a CD, collectible postcards, and a 72-page magazine with new interviews and rare photos.

Kaupe and Hodak are planning to release between 15 and 20 more ‘ZinePaks by the end of the year and are expecting revenues of at least $3 million for 2012.

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