WHEN Spotify, a music-streaming service, went public on April 3rd, its founder, Daniel Ek, rang no bells on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Rather than the “pomp and circumstance” of an initial public offering, the Swedish firm, which is widely credited with turning round the fortunes of the music industry, opted for an unusual direct listing. No new shares were issued. Bankers did not sign up new investors, set a target price or stabilise early trading. Existing investors were simply allowed to trade their shares publicly.
Despite the low-key approach, and even as other tech firms’ shares wobbled, there was plenty of interest. That will cheer other firms considering going public. The share price ended its first trading day at $149, comfortably above prices reached in private markets earlier this year. That values the company at $26.5bn, making it the largest firm to list since Snap last year, and the eighth-largest tech listing ever.