Chris Barton: Biography highlights
As the first CEO of Shazam, Chris led the creation of Shazam along with three co-founders from concept through inventing a new pattern recognition technology and then building and launching the world´s first music recognition service.
Full biography of Chris Barton
Barton co-founded Shazam in 1999 with the original idea to identify songs with a mobile phone. Before smartphones, people could call a number, put their phone up to the radio and receive a text identifying the song.
When the company launched in 2002, Shazam had 2 million songs in its database and took 15 seconds to process a user’s request. Today Shazam’s app has been downloaded by over 1 billion people globally. Now the app takes only a few seconds to identify songs from its database of over 30 million songs.
Shazam’s journey was one of faith and endurance for Barton and his co-founders. Although the company struggled for a while, 2008 saw it grow exponentially due to the introduction of iPhone and the Android app stores. Shazam, these days, is one of the world’s most popular apps. Its superior customer ratings and advanced use of technology convinced Apple to purchase the company in 2017.
Besides Shazam, Chris Barton, who holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Finance from Cambridge University and a BA from UC Berkeley, has also worked for Google, where he focused on the mobile and industry, and Dropbox, as their head of mobile operators development. Chris has also been involved with Microsoft MSN, News Corp, San Francisco Consulting Group and LEK Consulting.
He now advises passionate entrepreneurs by speaking on entrepreneurship and aids a handful of startups. The technology expert’s passion relates to all things entrepreneurial and technological in their nature. In addition, Barton is embarking on his next startup venture.
Watch Chris in action
Chris's keynote completely captivated our audience of 1700+ SAP customers, partners, and employees. His talk was truly entertaining and inspiring. Our audience's perception of entrepreneurial innovation was completely transformed.'
'Chris was an inspiring and sincere keynote speaker. His talk was very engaging ... the audience was fascinated by his personal insights on entrepreneurship and business strategy. Very on point, with a convincing message!'
'Chris is a charismatic speaker who shared his inspiring story of how a seemingly impossible dream with unsurmountable obstacles eventually came to life. In a very personal and honest tone, Chris shared the many lessons learned from the challenges of creating Shazam - from the power of persuasion and convincing people to believe in their project to building credibility and sharing their passion. The overall message was very inspiring and uplifting and our audience at our UNLEASH show loved having him as a speaker!'
Chris's speaking topics
Breaking the Sound Barrier – Challenges We Faced and Lessons We Learned in Building Shazam
Before smartphones, apps, and digital voice assistants, Chris Barton came up with the idea for people to identify songs by using their phone in 1999. But turning this idea into a commercial product was exceptionally difficult since PhDs in signal processing considered this problem “impossible” to solve due to the background noise. In addition, the startup faced numerous challenges in building the “fingerprint database” of millions of songs as well as launching to users in a world before mobile apps existed.
In this exciting talk, Barton shows audiences what it takes to bring an original idea to market when everyone says you can’t do it.
Ten Things I Am Grateful for in My Shazam Experience
When people tell the stories of startups, they usually focus on the obstacles overcome and the challenges met, while news stories focus on how much the company sold for. Rarely do people talk about the rewarding journey of following an idea to its conclusion.
In this talk focused on gratitude, Chris shares how startups gave him the opportunity to work with amazing teams, travel to foreign countries, and having an impact on the world.
Shazam’s Early Years: Surviving Difficult Times & The Keys to Startup Success
What does it take for your startup to succeed? Chris Barton founded Shazam in 1999 with three of his friends but it took years to take a simple and original idea from a working algorithm to profits.
In this enlightening and no-punches-pulled talk, Barton shares the story of the incredible challenges Shazam faced to “survive” through years of near-bankruptcy and explains his view of the ingredients necessary to make your startup successful.
Picking the Right Obsession
If you want to be successful in your career, you’ll need to pick the right obsession. Chris Barton had the chance to work with companies like Google and Dropbox, as well as co-founding Shazam.
In this talk, Chris shares how these companies and others follow the right obsession to market dominance.
Lessons for Entrepreneurs Collected from My Shazam Experience
From picking the right idea to finding the right approach to building the business from the ground up, Barton explains his views on how to optimize the chances of your startup succeeding (and how to enjoy the experience along the way).
The story of Creating Shazam and “Touchy Feely” Lessons for Entrepreneurs
When Chris co-founded Shazam, the music discovery company, his team had the crazy idea of using cell phones to help identify songs. This was before smartphones and apps. The journey was long and difficult but he and his friends learned important life lessons along the way.
In this inspiring and motivating talk, Chris focuses on the very human side of being an entrepreneur and what you can learn when you challenge yourself to do something amazing.