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Shares opened at US$165.90, up nearly 26% from the $132 guide price set by the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

The streaming music industry has given a boost to Sony's music business, whose artists include Beyoncé, DJ Khaled and Justin Timberlake.

Judging by Spotify's closing valuation on the NYSE last night - $149.01 per share, equivalent to a market cap of $26.5bn - the stake sold by Sony would have been worth over $250m at the time it cashed in. However, Apple doesn't rely on paid subscribers to earn a profit for Apple Music, as it has a huge retail family and consumer goods offering - products it can also use to push its streaming service to consumers.

But Spotify faces rising competition, most notably from Apple, which launched its own service in 2015 to seize a slice of the booming streaming market. "Normally, companies don't pursue a direct listing", Daniel EK, the founder and CEO of Spotify, wrote in a blog post.

On Wednesday, a day after Spotify's shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the price had dropped 6% to $140.02 at midday.

Tiger Global's $11 billion venture capital business, led by Lee Fixel, started its investment in Spotify in 2015 and expanded it into one of the unit's biggest positions, the person said.

Some market-watchers cautioned investors not to read too much into the first-day pop, given the mixed performance of recent tech IPOs. Trading under SPOT, they conducted a direct listing, cutting out banks completely.

In many public listings, and the investors pitch last month, Spotify has spoken about becoming a "platform".

Spotify and Tencent's music subsidiary announced a share swap in December, taking minority stakes in each other ahead of expected stock market listings this year. "Our focus isn't on the initial splash". Investors will most likely weigh the company's potential for growth, considering its 12-year streak of failing to turn a profit. The company skipped the traditional initial public offering process in favor of a route rarely taken by large, established companies. Instead, we will be working on trying to build, plan, and imagine for the long term.

It has more than 159 million monthly active listeners globally, with 71 million of those paying subscribers.