NEW YORK (AP) — When Louis C.K. released his comedy special "Live at the Beacon Theater" by himself on his website for $5, it was little more than a cautiously optimistic experiment.
Less than two weeks later, it had reaped more than $1 million. Already among the most respected stand-ups in the country, Louis C.K. was suddenly a new media trailblazer, too.
On Tuesday, the Webby Awards announced Louis C.K. is their "person of the year" for setting "a new precedent for distribution." Comedians Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan have since similarly released albums online.
The Webbys, which celebrate Internet achievement, announced the winners of its 16th annual awards on Tuesday. They're presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a group of about 1,000 Web experts and Internet professionals.
The awards spanned the breath of the Internet, from mobile apps like Instagram and Pinterest that have disrupted social media, to entertainers charting new digital ground, like Louis C.K. and Bjork.
Bjork was named artist of the year. Last year, the Icelandic musician released the album "Biophilia" as a multimedia presentation of music and apps.
She was among the special recognitions named by the Webbys, which also cited the photo app Instagram as breakout of the year. It was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
"It's been a huge year of change," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.
Also specially honored were Juliette Lewis and Graydon Sheppard, who share the award for best actress for the viral video "S--- Girls Say." The video, which parodies common expressions, has been watched more than 16.2 million times on YouTube and spawned a viral sensation of countless similar videos. Sheppard, a male comic, appears in drag in the video.