Opinion: Why Jenni Rivera's Death Will Be Bigger Than Selena's

The availability of iTunes and YouTube means more people have instant access to Rivera's music, whereas fans didn't have a choice but to buy physical copies of Quintanilla's albums – at least while she was alive. Add to that the fact that, as Cobo notes, back in the day, regional Mexican music wasn't sold everywhere as it is today; you had to go to flea markets or mom and pop shops to find it. At the same time, those same tools that Rivera enjoyed while she was alive enable a younger generation of listeners to discover Quintanilla's music despite the fact that she died before they were born - even if many would argue that if it weren't for Jennifer Lopez's unforgettable portrayal of Quintanilla in the 1997 biopic Selena, she wouldn't be as well known.

Rivera also lived 20 years longer than Selena – allowing her to record 12 studio albums, in addition to five live albums. Quintanilla certainly made her mark in Tejano music, and on her posthumous Dreaming of You album, we saw the promise of a great crossover pop artist. To date, Quintanilla has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, according to Nielsen Soundscan, but it's hard to say how many more she would have sold, or whether she would have sold that many had she not died.

Quintanilla's life was relatively private and drama-free, in comparison to Rivera's – which was anything but. It's only in 2012, 17 years after Quintanilla's death, that reports surfaced of an affair she allegedly had with her plastic surgeon while married to musician Chris Perez.

By contrast, Rivera's life was constantly in the news. She went through three divorces, the most recent one filed in October 2012 to baseball player Esteban Loaiza after two years of marriage. Rivera spoke often the abuse she suffered at the hands of her first husband Jose Trinidad Marin, (who in 2007 was convicted to 31 years in jail for sexually molesting their daughter Chiquis and Jenni's sister Rosie.) In 2010, Rivera launched the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

Nothing about Rivera's life - from discussions about her sex life to full-on diva antics - was off limits for the producers of her hit reality show on mun2, I Love Jenni, a sort of Latin-ized Keeping Up With the Kardashians. And when giving interviews – whether in Spanish or English – there was no question Rivera wouldn't comfortably answer. In this, her last interview with Univision,, she told El Gordo y la Flaca co-host Raul de Molina that she was "smart enough to get a pre-nup" when she married Loaiza. Rivera was a friend of the show, appearing numerous times over the years to personally address scandals like the sex tape that was allegedly stolen in 2008 from her home, or her son's arrest on charges of having sex with a minor in 2010. It's hard to imagine Quintanilla opening up about her personal drama the way Rivera did for the cameras, but then again we'll never know.

Rivera, unlike Quintanilla, lived long enough to have five children - and two grandchildren - through which her legacy will live on. Chiquis can be seen following in her mother's entrepreneur footsteps on her own mun2 show, Chiquis 'n Control, about the launch of her first business, a blow-dry salon.

Just like her mother, Chiquis has had to endure scandal in the public eye. In October, she took to Twitter to address rumors that she had an affair with Loaiza. "I would NEVER do that, Ever! That's a horrible accusation," she tweeted.

In the fascinating telenovela that was Jenni Rivera's life, it was just another rumor, another obstacle to overcome. One of Rivera's last quotes, spoken during a press conference after her concert in Monterrey on Saturday night before boarding that private jet, says it all: "As many times as I've fallen, I've gotten back up."

As for her legacy, Rivera summed it up best when speaking to Arellano 10 years ago. She couldn't have possibly known how her story would end, but she must have had a sense of the impact it would have on generations to come: "They're going to think of a woman who's real," she said, when asked how she'll be remembered. "They'll think about a woman who went through hell and back and never gave up. No one else has ever opened doors for me. I opened them myself."

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