The overwhelming force of Mexican regional music is attracting more and more followers in the Hispanic market, so much so that this year for the first time music industry bible Billboard will recognize the talent within the genre.

In association with Telemundo television, at the end of October the first edition of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards will be held.

"This is something that we've wanted to do for some time. In the Billboard prizes, we honor all genres, from pop to rock in Spanish, but in the case of Mexican music, we felt that there was not enough space to cover everything," Leila Cobo, Billboard's executive director for Latin Content and Programming, told Efe.

The popularity of the genre has never been in dispute, but for many years it was - if not marginalized - certainly very limited in its general distribution.

"Although it has always been a very popular genre, it wasn't precisely the music that you listened to on television. In fact, many artists say that 10 years ago it was very difficult for them to get invited onto a program for the general market," Cobo said.

What happened to cause this musical explosion, garnering a set of awards of its own and industry-wide recognition?

"For more than 10 or 15 years, of all the albums in Spanish sold in the United States, more than 60 percent have belonged to the Mexican regional genre. What is happening now is that the recognition of this market has grown," said Felix Castillo, president of Frontera Visual, a PR agency representing Mexican artists.