Andrew Burton

As has been rumored now for almost a month, Apple has officially acquired Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service. Apple announced the news today in a press release on its website

The purchase marks Apple's largest acquisition to date–a big move for one of America's most valued companies. 

The acquisition means that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine–founders of Beats–will become members of Apple's executive board. As he exclaimed earlier this month, Dr. Dre will indeed become the first billionaire in hip-hop, while Iovine will be replaced as chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M by former Fueled By Ramen label head John Janick. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the press release:

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple. That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Plenty of columns have sprouted up online since rumors began swirling about the purchase, but there aren't many concrete details. Given the pretty penny they paid for the company, though, you can bet that Apple will make sure we all know why they splurged on the purchase sooner rather than later. 

Some suggest Apple is focused on Beats Music and its licensing deals as part of a bigger plan to create a competitor to streaming giant Spotify. Others think Apple wants to reclaim its position at the pinnacle of music fashion by acquiring the popular line of Beats headphones, which have essentially replaced the iconic white iPod earbuds as a status symbol across the country. 

For now, Apple notes that Beats Music will still be available as a standalone app under that name, while Beats headphones will be sold in even more places than they already are. Apple's annual WWDC keynote event takes place on Monday