Jul 6, 2017

Soundcloud to lay off 40% of staff

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Streaming service Soundcloud will lay off 40% of its staff and close offices in San Fransisco and London, Bloomberg reports. The company says they're cutting down to get close to profitability, with the aim of staying independent. Earlier this year, Recode reported that Soundcloud had been unsuccessfully trying to raise $100 million in funding since the summer, and was talking to potential buyers, including Spotify, who opted not to buy the streaming service last year.

Why it matters: Soundcloud has always had a massive music library and audience, but they've never been able to turn that into cash. And with an unstable business model, it's struggled to remain competitive with Spotify and Apple Music.

The bigger picture ... The music streaming business is a bloodbath right now: Spotify, Pandora and SoundCloud aren't profitable despite having massive and engaged audiences. Here's a look at how complicated and rocky the landscape is right now.

  • Spotify has100 million users and is reportedly planning a direct listing on the NYSE as early as this fall.
  • Apple Music, which has 27 million subscribers, will start to play a large role in Apple's push to increase its $28 million services business by 2020. It recently asked record publishers to take a smaller revenue cut to expand margins.
  • Soundcloud has 175 million listeners and boasts one of the largest music libraries in the market, but has never been quite able to create a sustainable business model.
  • Pandora, which has 81 million users, is reportedly in talks with SiriusXM about a potential acquisition. The nation's largest satellite radio provider agreed to make a $480 million minority investment into Pandora in June. Its CEO recently stepped down and on Thursday, it announced it is ditching its premium subscription plans.
  • IHeartRadio, which has over 100 million registered users for its streaming service, announced last month it expects bankruptcy this year.
  • Tidal (Jay-Z's streaming service) sold 1/3 of its stake to Sprint earlier this year in the wake of financial turbulence. Tidal has three million reported subscribers, and some say that number may be inflated.

Our thought bubble: These platforms have massive, loyal audiences who are mostly consuming their content on mobile. While it makes sense that other streamers could want to consolidate to build market share, a legacy media or entertainment company (think Viacom, Disney, etc.) with virtually no direct-to-consumer mobile business, would be a great suitor.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

California announced Monday that places of worship and retailers can reopen statewide if they maintain strict measures and meet certain other conditions.

Zoom in: The state health department said in new guidance attendance for churches and other places of worship must have approval from county health officials to reopen and cap attendance at 25% of the building's capacity or no more than 100 people. In-store retail can resume statewide.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,490,954 — Total deaths: 345,962 — Total recoveries — 2,228,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,250 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy