February 20, 2010 / 1:48 AM / 9 years ago

15 years after her murder, Selena still sells

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The life of Selena Quintanilla-Perez — best-known as Selena — was cut short March 31, 1995, when she was gunned down by the founder of her fan club, but her music has never stopped selling. Her label, EMI, is counting on the enduring popularity of the Tejano star’s catalog and interest around the anniversary of her death to spur sales of three hits packages.

Selena’s “Amor Prohibido” has spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Catalog Albums chart since 1997, including the last three chart weeks. “Dreaming of You,” her posthumous 1995 English-language breakthrough, was on the catalog chart as recently as last year. Its title track has sold 254,000 digital copies since 2005, the first year that sales data is available for the song, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

EMI is releasing “La Leyenda” March 9 as a four-CD boxed set, a two-disc deluxe set and a single-disc hits collection. The boxed set, which will list for $93.98, will contain one disc each of cumbia/pop, Tejano/rancheras, English songs and live tracks, as well as a charm and a bound book with previously unpublished photos and messages from Selena’s family, friends and fans. The music and the book will also be available digitally.

“The package is pretty elaborate and handmade,” says Bill Gagnon, general manager/senior vice president of catalog marketing for EMI Music North America. “We’re hoping with the higher price point that we’ll be able to communicate to the consumer that it’s a special package.”

Though EMI owns almost all of Selena’s recorded material, Q Productions — the company of her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. — consulted closely with the label on the project, as well as a possible traveling exhibit. The goal is to take items from Selena’s museum in Corpus Christi, Texas (such as her performance outfits and Grammy Awards), on the road this year and possibly to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, says David Chavez, CEO of branding and event marketing agency LatinPointe. He’s also working on putting together a TV special to commemorate Selena.

“Her brand keeps getting stronger,” Chavez says.

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