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Shazam - Chris Barton

Shazam – Chris Barton


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About the Episode

Chris Barton, the co-founder and original CEO of Shazam, returns in a live interview at the first ever Mobile App Chat meetup and we talk about how you persevere when investors and industry/academic experts tell you that your idea is technically impossible to create and what it feels like when the idea actually comes to fruition. Also there are some great audience questions that you’ll definitely want to hear.

Chris Barton is the Founder and Board Member at Shazam.

Show Notes

Persevering Against the Odds

The idea for Shazam came eight years before the launch of the iOS AppStore and inventing the music recognition technology seemed insurmountable at the time. Even the technical co-founder tasked with inventing the technology at times thought it was impossible to develop and the VC investors they had presented the idea to were doubtful of significant consumer demand.  After seeing the demo, one VC investor said “I don’t see why anyone would ever use this.”.

Despite all of this, Chris and his co-founders persisted and kept on believing that his idea was worth pursuing. Chris’s “genius” technical co-founder was able to invent the technology after 4-5 months tireless efforts (including almost giving up). After 12 months of persistently wooing mobile networks, they have landed partnerships that got the ball of success rolling for Shazam for its initial launch in the UK in 2002.

The secret is just to choose what you are passionate about because that fuels the persistence that you are going to need.

Some questions from our audience:

When was the moment of breakthrough for Shazam?

While he was in Croatia on vacation, he received a voice mail from his technical co-founder telling him that he had finally “cracked the code” (invented the foundational algorithm). That was the moment he finally knew that that Shazam had a chance to become a real product.

How did you choose your co-founders?

They were people who had competencies needed for the product, had the highest level of integrity, and whom he shared camaraderie with…always great to have fun along the way. 

How does Shazam selects its database?

Shazam has relationships with record companies and has music experts researching music.

What is the #1 thing you’d like the listener to walk away with from this interview? 

Make something simple that is incredibly difficult to“make simple”. When you conquer that problem, you may have something unique that delights users.

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