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Like Twitter, music streaming services are killing it with huge mobile audiences – tens of millions of users and rising. But they are struggling to turn growing audiences into growing business success and a burst of consolidation is likely on the horizon.

Sound smart: None of the big players are profitable: Spotify is about go public; Pandora is taking big money from SiriusXM to compete; and Soundcloud just laid off 40 percent of its staff to stay afloat.

Expand chart
Data: Monthly uniques from Verto Analytics. Subscriber counts self-reported. Spotify and Apple from 2017, Rhapsody and Tidal from 2016; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Bottom line: The audience is there, but the cash isn't flowing ... yet. A big part of that stems from economics behind the digital economy (too many players in a crowded field) and music ownership and distribution rights — an issue that has been at the heart of the streaming mess since the beginning.

Deeper: The streaming economy is built around the premise that one day these giants will grow big enough to be able to force music labels to meet their terms, instead of the other way around. Apple Music is reportedly looking to give music labels less of a cut, but nothing has been negotiated yet. Spotify celebrated a mere 3-cent royalties reduction deal with Universal from 55% to 52% earlier this year.

Go deeper

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.