Here's an overview of the six major award events which should help you understand what's going on in the world of Latin music awards. The number of categories and the eligibility period change from time to time.
This is not a complete list of Latin music awards but what I consider to be the most visible and followed programs.
The most prestigious Latin music awards today are the Latin Grammy Awards. Latin artists felt that they were underrepresented when it came time for Grammy Awards to be handed out by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) and lobbied to form a subchapter: the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS) in order to expand recognition of Latin artists and their music. The 1st Latin Grammy Award presentations were made in 2000.
Who NominatesVotes: Latin Recording Academy (LARAS)
2. 'Regular' Grammy Awards
Even with the creation of LARAS, the Grammy Awards still honor Latin artists, although the number of categories is much smaller. Latin artists have also sometimes been recognized in the two categories devoted to world music.
Some of the curious differences between the two organizations are the names of nominees and winners. For instance, Mexico's Pepe Aguilar (pictured here) won a Grammy from both organizations in the same year; strangely, the awards were for two different albums. Aguilar won for Enamorado (LARAS) and 100% Mexicano (NARAS).
Categories: 9 Latin, 2 World
Who Nominates /Votes: The Recording Academy
Premio Lo Nuestro translates to "Our Awards" and the popularity of the show and prestige of winning an award appear to be growing every year.
In 2010, the big winner was Aventura (pictured here), the Bronx bachata band that has helped make the Dominican music one of the most popular in the U.S., not to mention the Spanish-speaking world.
Who Nominates /Votes: Nominations are compiled from recording trade magazine Radio & Records; voting is performed by the public by voting online
The Billboard Latin Music Awards is a double whammy. To win, you have to have a big hit on your hands and that's often as good (if not better) than an award. The awards are given as the culmination of the Billboard Latin Music Conference, a major Latin music industry event of music executives, artists, composers, sponsors and press.
2008's big winner was also Juan Luis Guerra, although here he didn't really have the spotlight to himself.
Who Nominates /Votes: Nominees and winners are a result of performance on Billboard's sales and radio charts compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems
5. Premios Juventud
The "Youth Awards" are relatively new, but have become a major draw to young people who can express their adoration by voting -- a la reality programs -- for their favorites and then seeing them on the show.
Although this program is not solely aimed at music (also film, sports, fashion & pop culture), it has quickly become a showcase for urban and youth-focused artists and has a huge national audience, always a tough demographic to ignore.
Reggaeton's Wisin y Yandel were the big winners in 2008.
Categories: 13 (although music artists often appear in the pop/culture category)
Time Period: not specified, billed as "who is hot now"
Who Votes: online fan community via univision.com