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The Los Angeles Times pointed out this week that Amazon has launched a “price war” against iTunes by reducing the cost of popular MP3 singles to 69 cents, compared to $1.29 (for AAC tracks) on Apple’s service. I’m not entirely sure this is a new development, to be honest. And certainly Amazon has not issued a press release about this, something the company isn’t exactly shy about doing. Still 69 cents is a great price for a single, and Amazon’s high quality MP3 files are worth seeking out.

Here’s how the LA Times blow this out of proportion.

Price war! Amazon launches 69-cent MP3 store for top-selling tunes.

The Seattle online company is now pricing select top-selling tunes for 69 cents, down from 89 cents previously. Many of the songs in Amazon's 69-cent store sell for $1.29 on iTunes, including Katy Perry's "E.T.", Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way."

Last year, Apple hoisted the prices of hot new releases to $1.29 a pop, from 99 cents. [Apple similarly “hoisted” the price of hot new eBooks from $9.99 to $12.99 and more, btw. –Paul]

A swath of hyperbole followed in the LA Times’ wake (Amazon Strikes At iTunes, Slashes Price On Popular MP3s and so on). But really, isn’t this just common sense competition from the “e-tail” price leader? And couldn’t this just be a short-lived promotion?

Anyway, regardless of Amazon’s move this week, if it was one, you should always compare prices at major digital providers of music before buying. That includes iTunes, Amazon, and Zune.

And for the record, everything else being equal, I choose iTunes above the others because AAC offers generally better sound quality.