Will This Apple/Beats Buy Change The Way We Listen To Music?

Is streaming set for mainstream?

Apple is reportedly planning to purchase Beats Electronics and the word on every expert’s lips seems to be “streaming.” As in streaming music.

Because if Apple does sign that fat $3.2 billion check, it will be getting a fully operational music subscription service, Beats Music, along with those headphones and Beats Pills — something that the tech giant has never had before.

We asked a cadre of experts what effect they think this acquisition could have on the music world — aside from making co-founder Dr. Dre the first billionaire in hip-hop.

Allow them to peek into the hypothetical crystal ball:

Watch The Throne

“Apple sees that download sales are declining. Last year growth slowed and in the first part of this year sales are cratering. Apple needed to get into streaming without wrecking their existing business, so they bought a hot brand at a discount. If they are able to use the iTunes store to power significant scale for Beats, which I fully expect they will, the deal will allow Apple to hold onto its power in the music business.”

“Apple for too long has sat on the sidelines while a host of startups have innovated in digital music because they had to protect the download business. No more. Apple now has the flexibility to create a product bundle — say downloads, radio and streaming — that will be able to attract major distribution partners that we have yet to see.” – Jon Maples, Digital Music Consultant and Analyst

Main-Streaming

“Beats Music has done a better job than anyone at curating popular songs that appeal to the mainstream consumer. If Apple distributes Beats Music across every iOS device and makes the subscription process via App Store seamless, it could drive significant adoption of the music streaming service.” – Kyle Bylin, User Researcher at Live Nation Labs

Could Be A Contender

“I think for the music world, the big play would be if Apple gets the Beats Music streaming service. This would instantly give Apple a streaming infrastructure (not connected to iTunes) along with the label deals that go along with it. The Apple brand/backing could definitely make Beats Music (or whatever it would be called) a bigger contender against the likes of Pandora and Spotify.

“That said, Apple buying a service or company isn’t always a Midas touch. Recall that Apple bought Lala, only to shutter it. The Apple product that was the result of that purchase? Ping. What was Ping? Exactly.” – Christina Warren, Senior Tech Analyst at Mashable

Eh?

“Hard to beat Om Malik’s comment on Twitter… ‘Google spends $3.2 billion to buy the future & data. Apple buys bad headphones & a junk-service from music promoters.’

“While I may not go that far, it is difficult to understand what all they are getting with a potential acquisition here. There is cartainly brand value, which Apple may or may not keep, but the music service is still fledgling, and the hardware isn’t anything that Apple couldn’t do on their own.” – Jonathan Sasse, Digital Media Executive

Brenna Ehrlich is a reporter for MTV News as well as the senior writer/editor for the O Music Awards. In the past, she served as associate editor at Mashable, penned a netiquette column for CNN and co-authored the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." She likes trying not to die in moshpits and listening to songs on repeat. Follow her on Twitter @BrennaEhrlich for news on cats and punk bands.