Steve Jobs has published an essay — Thoughts on Music — in which he calls for an end to Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Mr. Jobs makes several very important statements in his essay. One explains that, theoretically, music buyers are locked into the supplier/technology through which they make their purchase…

Apple, Microsoft and Sony all compete with proprietary systems. Music purchased from Microsoft’s Zune store will only play on Zune players; music purchased from Sony’s Connect store will only play on Sony’s players; and music purchased from Apple’s iTunes store will only play on iPods.

The essay then explains some of the reasons why DRM is not working and suggests some alternatives. The alternative that is given the most attention is an end to DRM.  The treatment begins with…

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.

Stay tuned.