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Chris Barton: The Entrepreneur Behind Shazam

Theo Moret

29 Apr, 2024

2 min read

When Chris Barton envisioned a tool to identify any song playing around him, the world of music was transformed. He didn’t just introduce an app; he reshaped the way we discover music. Learn about Chris Barton, founder of Shazam

Meet Chris Barton, Founder of Shazam

Chris Barton's journey began with a personal problem: he wanted to identify songs he heard daily. By conceptualizing and creating Shazam, Chris Barton showcased that innovation lies at the intersection of personal pain points and technological solutions. But Shazam isn't his only claim to fame. Beyond being an inventor, Chris also had influential stints with tech giants like Google and Dropbox.

Shazam Delivers Magic

For the uninitiated, Shazam is a piece of tech magic. It’s a revolutionary app designed to identify any song that’s playing nearby. With Shazam, Chris shed light on how technology can deliver solutions to everyday challenges — in this case, effortlessly identifying tracks. Shazam’s goal is to transform the way we interact with music, whether we're using basic mobile phones or advanced devices.

Chris Barton's Career

Chris Barton's career is marked by entrepreneurial innovation, both at Shazam and beyond. Here are the pivotal moments:

  • 2000: Chris's best-known creation, Shazam, was founded. It predated iTunes by three years and the iPhone by seven, it was clearly ahead of its time.
  • 2004: As a founding member of Google's Android Partnerships team, Chris paved the way for Google and mobile partnerships.
  • 2007: He then joined Dropbox, where he led carrier partnerships as one of the company’s first 100 people.
  • 2018: With over 2 billion downloads, Shazam was acquired by Apple for a reported $400 million.
  • 2020: Guard, Chris’s latest venture, was launched, aiming to detect drowning in swimming pools using AI.
Chris Barton and the number of Shazam downloads

Interesting Facts about Chris Barton

  1. Breaking Barriers with Dyslexia: Chris Barton considers his dyslexia to be his superpower. He credits it with guiding him to see problems from unique perspectives.
  2. The Moment Chris Barton Dreamt Up a Big Idea: The idea of Shazam didn't come from structured brainstorming sessions but from a personal need. He wanted an easy way to identify the songs he heard while out and about.
  3. Defying the Odds: When he had the idea for Shazam, the necessary tech was nonexistent. Even as leading professors from MIT and Stanford declared his vision impossible, Chris delivered an inspiring innovation. Soon, the question, "Can you Shazam this song for me?" became commonplace.

Chris Barton's Notable Achievements

From creator of Shazam to influential figure in tech, Chris's achievements show entrepreneurial spirit and knack for innovation.

  • Inventor and Tech Investor: Holding 12 patents, Chris's innovations are widespread, even including elements within the Google search algorithm.
  • Inspiring Hollywood: Chris's Shazam magic didn't stop at app stores. Hollywood took notice,too. The Fox Network created a game show, hosted by Jamie Foxx, called "Beat Shazam.”
  • Chris's Talk Attracted Global Attention: Organizations often request to hear Chris Barton speak or deliver a truly inspiring keynote speech. As a speaker, he unpacks lessons learned from his experiences of making seemingly impossible ideas come to life, inspiring listeners to create their own Shazam magic.
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