Aventura, the urban bachata group from the Bronx that has re-energized the tropical music scene, was the big winner at the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards, snaring nine trophies, including Latin album and digital album of the year for "The Last" (Premium).
Above: Stars on the red carpet at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.
The awards, presented by State Farm in association with T-Mobile, aired live April 29 on Telemundo from Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan and featured 14 performances by more than 20 acts. It marked the first time in its 21-year history that the awards show, seen in nearly 50 countries, had been held outside the continental United States.
Aventura's nine wins also included the newly created Latin artist of the year award, which combines achievements on both the Top Latin Albums sales chart and Hot Latin Songs airplay chart. Tito "El Bambino" was the second-most-honored artist with seven awards, including hot Latin song male artist of the year and-for his hit single "El Amor" (Siente/Universal)-hot Latin song and Latin digital download of the year.
Luis Fonsi and Wisin & Yandel each received three awards. They included Latin pop album solo artist of the year for Fonsi, who records for Universal Music Latino, and Latin rhythm album of the year for Wisin & Yandel's "La Revolución" (Machete).
Video: Marc Anthony during the Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards
The winner of the inaugural new Latin artist of the year award was Fonovisa's Larry Hernández, whose brand of in-your-face narcocorridos found acceptance at both retail and radio. The award for crossover artist of the year, a new category created in recognition of mainstream tracks that play heavily on Spanish-language formats, went to the Black Eyed Peas.
Video: Daddy Yankee's listening party right before the conference.
Although this year's awards cut across a broad swath of genres and styles, they were remarkable for a prevalence of winners with music that blended urban and pop sensibilities in a mix that transcended radio formats and nationalities. "El Amor," for example, written by "El Bambino" with Joan Ortiz, played on urban, tropical and pop formats across the country, as did songs by Aventura and even by pop artists like Fonsi.
Cross-pollination has also been a key part of the strategy at Universal Music Latin Entertainment, which dominated the label awards. UMLE took home top Latin albums label of the year, while UMLE's pop imprint, Universal Music Latino, won the hot Latin songs label of the year award and its tropical/urban imprint, Machete, won Latin rhythm airplay label of the year.
UMLE's regional Mexican imprint, Disa, won regional Mexican airplay label of the year. UMLE imprints, which also won albums label of the year awards in the Latin pop, regional Mexican and Latin rhythm genres, work closely with one another, often mixing and matching artists across Latin genres. Sony Music Latin dominated the tropical category, winning the airplay label and albums label awards.
For the third year in a row, Espinoza Paz won the songwriter of the year award, while for the second consecutive year, Armando Avila and Arpa Musical won producer and publisher of the year awards, respectively. Sony/ATV Music Publishing took home this year's publishing corporation of the year award.
Awards for labels and publishers were handed out April 28 during the Billboard Bash, which also featured performances by finalists including Flex, Diana Reyes and Tercer Cielo.
The Billboard Latin Music Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music, as determined by sales and radio airplay data used to compile Billboard's weekly charts during the one-year period of Feb. 7, 2009-Jan. 30, 2010.
Finalists, and the eventual winners, are determined by the performance of new recordings on Billboard's sales charts including Top Latin Albums and airplay charts including Hot Latin Songs. Album categories were limited to titles that didn't appear before the Nov. 8, 2008, issue and excluded finalists from the prior year's awards.
A Billboard editorial committee decided the recipients of the Spirit of Hope and Lifetime Achievement Awards, which were given this year to Marc Anthony and Mexican icons Los Temerarios, respectively (Billboard, April 24).
For a complete list of winners, go to billboardlatinconference.com.