While it’s a free app so there’s no risk if you want to try it out, we thought MissingTunes by eightloops was a neat app that could be very useful to music lovers. The app’s function is quite simple – it shows the complete (more on what “complete” means in a moment) discography for artists currently in your iTunes library (or at least as many artists as you have loaded onto your iPad) or those that you enter manually within the app. While you can also do this kind of search within the iTunes on your computer or iPad, you’d need to search for each artist separately and choose to view all albums, which takes multiple steps. MissingTunes does this in a much easier one-tap kind of way.
When you first open the app, you are presented with a dialogue asking if you want to import all of the artists currently in your iPad’s iPod app. You can decline this and just enter artists by hand but we think it’s far easier to just let the app do it for you as you get started.
Once you do this, all artists are listed in a pane on the left and tapping on one will reveal all that artist’s albums on the right.
Tapping on an album will show all its songs and you can even preview a song by tapping on it. A link on the far right shows the price of the song in the iTunes store. Clicking on the price will reveal a prompt to open the iTunes app on your iPad so you can buy the selected song.
There are a few features we think the app is missing. First, there’s no way to tell which songs you have already purchased, so you’ll need to know this as you browse songs to avoid buying a song you already have (though you’ll at least get stopped by the warning iTunes gives when you go to purchase music you’ve already bought from the store). Also, there’s no link to buy an entire album – you’ll need to select a song within the album and then choose to buy the entire album once you get to the iTunes app. And, if you skip importing all artists from the iPod app when you first open the app, you can’t do it again later – the app only allows you to choose artists one-by-one and there’s no “select all” button.
Getting back to the “complete” discography we mentioned at the start of our review, MissingTunes only searches the iTunes store, so keep this limitation in mind as you search and shop. The ability to search beyond the iTunes store would be fantastic, but we’re sure this adds a lot of complexity and could slow the album search process considerably.
Despite these shortcomings, MissingTunes provides an easy way to shop for more music for artists you already know and have in your library and we felt it was worth a good look. Compared to searching album listings for each artist manually within iTunes or on the internet, using MissingTunes is far easier and faster. If MissingTunes took just one more step to gray out or somehow mark songs we already own, we’d be even more pleased with it, and if eightloops went even further to add the other features we felt were missing, we wouldn’t blink an eye to pay money to get MissingTunes on our iPads.