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Liquid Audio soars in market debut

Liquid Audio (Nasdaq: LQID) opened at 41 and was trading at 37 7/8 at midday Friday. Liquid Audio priced its 3.6 million-share initial public offering at $15 a share late Thursday, well above its original price range of $10 to $12 a share.

The company bumped its range to $14 to $15 from $10 to $12. Lehman Brothers is the lead underwriter.

Liquid Audio, which uses its software to publish and encode music that can be downloaded, is looking to cash in on the buzz around digitally delivered music. Musicmaker.com Inc. (Nasdaq: HITS) gained in its first day of trading Wednesday despite first quarter revenue of only $20,000.

Liquid Audio's financials are better, but reflect the usual for Internet stocks. For 1998, the company reported sales of $2.8 million and a loss of $8.5 million. For the first quarter, the company lost $4.1 million on sales of $530,000.

The company, however, has some important partners and should be able to leverage those relationships into strong first day gains.

The company's software has been used by record companies such as BMG North America, Capitol Records, Columbia House, Dreamworks Records, EMI Classics, and Rounder Records. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) has also used Liquid Audio to offer free downloads.