daniel ek spotify 2015

Spotify's CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Ek photographed on May 21, 2015 at Spotify's New York City office.

Wesley Mann

The Financial Times has released its list of the most influential European tech leaders, and -- surprise? -- music made a strong showing throughout.

At the top of the list you'll find Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek, who they call a "a rock star in the tech world," a claim for which there's little dispute. Just after Ek, at No. 4, is Arkady Zolozh, a name that's probably not immediately recognizable to American readers. Volozh is the founder of Yandex, known as 'Russian Google.' That company just recently launched an Internet radio service, a small step towards legitimization in a piracy-rampant country.

Just after Volozh is Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, founders of SoundCloud, the not-quite-this, not-quite-that sound hosting service that continues to find its footing -- while tracking millions of listens.

Shazam's Chris Barton, Avery Wang, Philip Inghelbrecht, Dhiraj Muckerjee and Andrew Fisher come in at No. 18. That app certainly needs no introduction; even competitors like SoundHound reference "the blue button" in press releases.

Two more music-related companies appear in the Top 50: Jawbone (maker of the popular Bluetooth speaker) and Rockstar Games, producer of Grand Theft Auto, a franchise with a longstanding relationship to the music world through intimate artist partnerships.

"To be eligible, entrepreneurs must be European nationals or have made Europe their home in running a tech business. They must also be the chief executive or part of the founding team of a technology company, remaining actively involved in the organisation or in related entrepreneurial endeavours," writes the Financial Times.

A six-person panel of judges made up of Financial Times employees and tech execs like LinkedIn founder Redi Hoffman and Maelle Gavet, evp of global operations for Priceline.