Viva Mexico!

Billboard and Telemundo reunite to present second Mexican music honors.

For the second consecutive year, Billboard celebrates the rich diversity, quality, depth and continuing commercial success of regional Mexican music through its Premios Billboard a la Musica Mexicana-the Billboard Mexican Music Awards.

Presented by State Farm, the awards will take place Oct. 18 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and air live on Telemundo. This is the only show on national TV that exclusively celebrates Mexican music. (For the latest updates, follow the Twitter hashtag #BillboardsMX).

And why celebrate Mexican music exclusively?

According to the RIAA, in 2011 regional Mexican music, including Tejano, accounted for 49% of all Latin music shipments in the United States. Even though that percentage marks a slight decline from the 50% recorded in 2010, it's still an ample lead over pop (36%), tropical (11%) and urban (4%).

Beyond the fact that regional Mexican music has long remained the top-selling genre of Latin music in the United States, it is also particularly diverse in sound. And yet, these subgenres -- ranchera, mariachi, norteno, banda, cumbia and grupero, to name just a few -- are all commercially successful. Or, as one label head many years ago put it: "Regional Mexican music is the gift that keeps on giving."

However, no Latin music awards show has properly highlighted the importance of the genre, leading to the creation last year of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards.

"In a predominantly Mexican marketplace, it's important to have these awards, which connect artists to their natural audience," says Jorge Pino, VP of music for media company Venevision, whose label, Venemusic, is distributed by Universal.

"Without a doubt, the Latin music and entertainment industry in the U.S. needs to further recognize the importance and value of Mexican music at all levels," adds Alberto Del Castillo, founder/CEO of Mexican music promotion and marketing company In Motion. "These awards, dedicated exclusively to Mexican music, provide that support. And to have that from a global organization like Billboard is particularly important and something that no other awards show does."

This year's awards will honor artists and recordings in 33 categories across four broad genres: banda, norteno, ranchero/mariachi and duranguense/grupero/cumbia. Finalists will also vie for top honors in album of the year, artist of the year male and female, song of the year, airplay artist of the year and digital download artist of the year, among others. Labels and publishing companies will also be honored for their chart achievements, as will songwriters and producers.

Finalists and winners of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards are determined by chart performance as tracked in Billboard magazine and on during the eligibility period of Aug. 27, 2011, through Aug. 18, 2012. Award categories are based on album and digital track sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS.

Although the selection is the same as that for the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the eligibility period for the Mexican Music Awards is unique to these honors and is one of the reasons finalists and eventual winners may differ from those of the Latin Music Awards. Further, because these awards are dedicated solely to regional Mexican music, finalists and winners are determined by performance on the regional Mexican charts-which makes the diversity of the music all the more remarkable.

"Our biggest challenge is to represent the great variety of Mexican music with all its rhythms, flavors and colors," says show producer Tony Mojena, a veteran of live TV who also produces the Billboard Latin Music Awards. "We want every genre to feel represented and, with this show, show the world at large the scope of the music and the talent behind it."

The second edition of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards is not only taking place at a bigger venue, but will also air live for the first time, an indication of the success of the 2011 inaugural event. Confirmed performers include 3BallMTY, America Sierra, El Bebeto, Tucanes de Tijuana (celebrating their 25th anniversary), special award winner Pepe Aguilar, Julion Alvarez and Los Primos de Durango.

"Billboard has really tried to recognize the quality of the different genres of Mexican music," Venevision's Pino adds. "That sets the difference."


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