“Why would Apple want to buy Beats Electronics?” Sam Gustin writes for TIME Magazine. “It’s a question many tech observers have been asking since the Financial Times reported Thursday that the Silicon Valley behemoth is ‘closing in’ on a $3.2 billion acquisition of the ‘high quality’ headphones maker founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop artist Dr. Dre.”

“Apple’s iTunes service long dominated digital music sales, but the company never quite figured out how to present a streaming music product. Apple’s flagship music brand iTunes has been criticized over its user interface — so it makes sense that the company would be eager for outside help,” Gustin writes. “At $3.2 billion, the Beats deal would be more than three times larger than any acquisition in Apple’s history.”

“For Apple, the streaming music service that Beats recently launched may be the most attractive part of the deal. Apple revolutionized digital music with the iPod and iTunes, but the company has yet to find a new formula to challenge Spotify, the streaming music darling of the moment,” Gustin writes. “‘This is a reactive move — at best,’ writes veteran tech journalist Om Malik. ‘Steve Jobs’ Apple would have pushed to make something better, but even he struggled to come to terms with the Internet and Internet thinking. That hasn’t changed.'”

“Subscription services are growing faster than any other area of the music industry. Music subscription revenue increased by 50% to $1.1 billion in 2013, according to a report by IFPI, the global music industry association, cited by my colleague Eliana Dockterman. Downloads fell 2% last year, in the first annual decline since Apple launched the iTunes store in 2003,” Gustin writes. “This situation raises a now-familiar question: What’s up with innovation inside Apple?”

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MacDailyNews Take: The following video, “Dr Dre On His Way To Being The First Hip Hop Billionaire: Dre & Tyrese Announce Apple Buying Beats For $3.2 Billion,” contains language that may not be safe for work (NSFW), depending on where you work:

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