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Significant Digits For Friday, July 7, 2017

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

40 percent

In a last-ditch bid to turn the company around, Soundcloud, the digital music streaming site, is laying off about 40 percent of its staff. [Bloomberg]

80 percent

For the past five years, China has accounted for over 80 percent of North Korean imports and exports, which has helped the isolated nation’s economy remain viable. In 2001, China was responsible for only 18 percent of North Korean exports and 20 percent of imports. [The Wall Street Journal]

80 to 85 percent

Cirque de Soleil is buying the Blue Man Group for an undisclosed sum. Right now Cirque de Soleil relies heavily on live shows, which generate 80 to 85 percent of its business. The company wants to diversify and increase revenues from merchandising, and the Blue Man Group — with its six shows in residence and two tours — opens up new, more international audiences. [Bloomberg]


In addition to its plans to end sales of diesel and gasoline-fueled automobiles by 2040, France’s environment minister outlined a plan that would have the nation phase out its use of coal for electricity by 2022. [The New York Times]

400,000 streams

Nearly the number of times “Happy Birthday, Matthew” has been streamed on Spotify, just one of many clever schemes to turn the incremental payments of single streams into a steady flow of income. Everybody has a birthday, there a lot of people are named Matthew, and some of those Matthews want to stream a personalized version of “Happy Birthday” on the big day. The business then scales because — and this is huge — there are several additional names besides “Matthew.” [Vulture]

$2.1 billion

QVC and HSN are merging in a $2.1 billion all-stock transaction. QVC has almost three times as many employees and made $10.22 billion in revenue last year to HSN’s $3.57 billion. This is perfect for creating the retail juggernaut of tomorrow, because I cannot think of a single other way to shop using technology other than the television. [The Wall Street Journal]

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

CORRECTION (July 7, 1:53 p.m.): An earlier version of this post misstated which channel QVC is merging with. It is HSN, not HLN.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.