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juannomore / Flickr CC

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

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

5 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

10 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.