The Billboard Latin Music Awards grew out of the Billboard Music Awards program from Billboard Magazine, an industry publication charting the sales and radio airplay success of musical recordings. Originally launched as the Billboard Latin Music Conference in 1990, the first awards began in 1994. In addition to awards given on the basis of success on the Billboard charts, the ceremony includes the Spirit of Hope award for humanitarian achievements and the Lifetime Achievement award, as well as awards by the broadcasting partner.
Since 1999, the awards ceremony has been broadcast on the television network Telemundo, where it became the network's highest-rated music special. The broadcast not only extends throughout the Americas and Puerto Rico, but also to such countries as Romania. The latest event was held in Miami, Florida on April 26, 2012.