The dad bros and basic bitches of Wall Street are watching in mute terror as Spotify prepares to go public tomorrow. But unlike many of the recent tech IPOs that hit the market with all the impact of a leaden shart, the real concern with Spotify is that it will do well.
See, Spotify is using a direct listing to get its ticker symbol, a move that cuts out Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs investment banks that have become used to generating revenue by sheparding even the most dogshit of IPOs into existence. Were Spotify to make a solid landing on the NYSE, the next batch of tech startups might see the direct listing as a feasible option, and that poses an existential threat to Wall Street's biggest banks. The one thing that i-banks had going for them was that techies didn't think they understood the IPO process, so if direct listings work, that ceases to matter and the world goes back to the olden days of old bankers staring at aggressive nerds in hoodies and wondering what the hell they actually...like...do.
Scary shit. Especially since this leaves all the big banks to fight like slow-moving piranhas over the smaller carcass of advisory fees that are much less easy to split than a conventional IPO. Nonetheless, there is money to be made on that game. Consider the aforementioned Spotify...
The company will spend up to $50 million in advisory and other fees — an out-of-pocket expense it will pay for immediately. (If Spotify had done a traditional IPO, its bankers would have made most of their money by reselling an allotment of Spotify equity.)
Well, that's a rather nice chunk of change. But how does a bank full of old squares jump to the front of the line? It's not like any of these banks has a CEO-in-waiting that happens to be a dope-ass hipster who loves shiny new tech, fine wine and sick-ass beats. Because if you had one of those sitting around, you would pour him into cut-off shorts, drape him in a Supreme sweatshirt and send him into a meeting with Spotify's leadership team...
David Solomon, Goldman’s CEO heir apparent, made a personal plea in Goldman’s pitch to Spotify, playing up his now well-publicized side job as DJ D-Sol, according to two people with knowledge of the pitch. It worked.
DJ D-Sol just made $50 million by getting a tech unicorn to trust him by blasting some David Guetta in a conference room at 200 West Street and yelling "I go HAM for this banger. His drops are dope but mine are considerably fresher!"