Apple has confirmed that it is to purchase subscription music service and headphone maker Beats for $3bn.

As part of the acquisition, the founders of Beats, Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, will join Apple.

Apple will pay a total of $2.6bn for the two companies, plus a further $400m over time.

It is thought to be Apple's biggest ever acquisition. 

The confirmation follows the posting of a video online a number of weeks ago, featuring Dr Dre describing himself as hip hop's first billionaire.

In the period that followed there was some speculation that Apple might pull the rumoured deal, as a result of details of it leaking. 

However, in a statement tonight, Apple CEO Tim Cook said music holds a special place within Apple's heart and as a result, the company has kept investing in it. 

"I've always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple," said Jimmy Iovine.

"The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple's unmatched ability to marry culture and technology.

"Apple's deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special."

Apple already has a successful music service, through its download store iTunes.

As a result, when rumours of the takeover first surfaced, many questioned what Apple would want from Beats.

However, industry analysts pointed to the shift in music consumption from downloads to streaming services, which Apple does not have, but Beats does.

By buying Beats, Apple is also acquiring a brand name which is hugely popular among younger people who use the Beats range of headphones.