In the past month, three of the largest music streaming companies all declared major business changes:

  • Pandora, which has 81 million users, is reportedly in talks with SiriusXM about a potential acquisition. Pandora said last Monday it has raised money to potentially explore a sale next month.
  • Spotify, which has 100 million users, is reportedly planning a direct listing on the NYSE as early as this fall.
  • IHeartRadio, which has over 100 million registered users for its streaming service, announced last month it expects bankruptcy this year.

What it means: The business changes at each organization may not be related, but they point to a growing trend of competitiveness driving instability in the music streaming market.

  • Earlier this year, Jay-Z sold 1/3 of his streaming service, Tidal, to Sprint after facing major losses in 2015.
  • Meanwhile, Pandora and iHeartRadio both launched subscription services to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, who are leading the market in subscribers.
  • And like we're seeing with the cable industry, all the players are facing messy disputes over licensing fees with the content creators.

Go deeper

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.

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