Why Cannes named Spotify, not a person, for top media honours this year

Cannes Lions has switched its media person of the year award to that of media brand at the request of Daniel Ek, Spotify's co-founder and chief executive.

Why Cannes named Spotify, not a person, for top media honours this year

When contacted by Campaign, a Cannes Lions spokeswoman said that while the media award has historically been given to individuals, Ek had requested that the award go to his entire organisation instead. 

"When we approached Daniel Ek he made clear he was honoured to accept, but wanted to acknowledge the whole organisation rather than the award being focused on him. We were happy to oblige," the spokeswoman said. 

Individuals who have been awarded Cannes Lions' Media Person of the Year title in the past include Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, then-executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, and president of Tencent Online Media Group, SY Lau. 

This year, Ek will be accepting the award on behalf of Spotify and its more than 3,000 employees.

"While I can appreciate that this award normally recognises a single individual, I didn’t embark on this journey alone. We are where we are today thanks to our employees, past and present, who have been the most integral part of our 10-year history. I am energised daily by the creativity, bravery and passion our team brings to work," Ek said. 

Spotify's music-streaming service has more than 170 million users in 65 countries since its launch in 2008. Its advertising platform is highly targeted and connects advertisers with its user-base via its specialised understanding of people through their music streaming behaviour.

Its marketing work won six Cannes Lions in 2017 for its witty and timely marketing campaigns, including "Thanks, 2016...It’s Been Weird" and "President of Playlists."

"Spotify has transformed the way we engage with music. In the ten years since Daniel and his team launched the service it has gone on to reshape the future of media and transform how artists and brands communicate with their audiences," Philip Thomas, chief executive of Ascential Events and chairman-elect, Cannes Lions, said.