You’ve been ported, stomped, and tracked; now get ready to get HARD…style that is. I’m continuing on my quest to find THE ULTIMATE music site by bringing you the freshest most informative 411. I’ve covered too much house, too much trance, and too many egos, so now it’s time to look at a genre that doesn’t quite get the praise it deserves. Will Hardstyle deliver the shuffling blow it should? Let’s find out!
Sometimes I come across music stores that seem to be teetering on the edge of a great revolution. Other times I come across a music site and I wonder what exactly the webmaster was thinking when he uploaded all that flash and terrible music. So when I stumbled across www.hardstyle.com and actually browsed through the site, I found myself on the fence. This is perhaps the first time I have ever been on the fence about a music store because usually I know rather or not if I like it or hate it. However, in this case there are some good points and bad points that keep the proverbial scale balanced.
Now the site itself is very basic with a standard grayish/white background. Most of the main hyperlinks are a dark blue color and seem to sort of pop out at you. What’s nice about this style is you’re not overloaded with information you don’t need. There was no automatic music player which means if Hardstyle isn’t exactly your cup of tea you have the option to avoid it until you find the genre you like. Overall the site itself loads fairly quickly without any major hang-ups.
The downside to this simplistic setup deals with formatting and space. You have to side scroll left and right, up and down, in order to see everything. That’s bad! It becomes annoying very fast and it wastes valuable time trying to scroll to find what you’re looking for. I guess this goes hand in hand with the big word BETA 2.0 on the top left corner. So yes folks, you are still testing a work in progress. I won’t go into detail in regards to how the site looked long ago. I think we all get the picture.
However, if you’re looking for merchandise (which most people aren’t since they are buying music) you won’t have a problem. See the merchandise tab is right on the main page, followed by an even BIGGER scrolling tab for more merchandise. So yes, obviously I’m supposed to spend all my money on clothes and not buy any music.
I got over the strange main page and quickly created an account for this site. Setup is much like any other store which means it’s fairly simply. They ask you a few important details then give you the option to opt in or out of emails. Activation is sent through your preferred account then bam! You’re in!
I really like the music available for sale on Hardstyle. They have LOTS of really great energetic pieces that get you moving quickly. For example, I love the track Scrap Attack and I found some great remixes on the site. Some of the top downloads like Crea Diem and Play the Game are nearly perfect in production. This shows me the site is accurate in terms of what truly is popular. Basically everything on their top downloads, picks, and charts are GREAT PIECES OF MUSIC. The descriptions for most of the DJ Charts are poorly written, see Wildstylez bio, but they still, at least, offer professional opinion. I mean if you love Hardstyle check it out dudes! Oh and their not stingy at all with their sample player size. You get nearly 3 minutes of a sample track to listen to. How often do you see that?!
Now here’s the fence part. So I LOVE the music selection, I LOVE the sample size, I LOVE that they don’t use DRM security on the tracks…but I HATE that you can’t change the currency! This site caters to the European currency meaning it won’t be in US dollars. This is a bit of a problem for those who have conversion trouble. Conversion trouble is usually a turn off for most people because they often associate foreign countries with scam music sites. Thus, I highly recommend Hardstyle think about changing that in the future. If you see anything with .99 and you live in America, that’s about $1.40 on top of the 1.00 they charge for sales under 10.00 in European currency…yikes! You also get charged 1.9% for all Credit Card orders with an additional .10 for each transaction. I also believe you do get charged a penalty fee if your card is bad…but that could also just be a temporary hold.
So in conclusion I’m going to have to give Hardstyle a 3/5. This site could easily be a 5/5 if they do something about the currency, the merchandise tabs, and the overall site layout. The side scrolling has to go. The big merchandise tabs have to go. Only displaying one currency…definitely has to go. The site has AMAZING potential. The quality of the Hardstyle, jump style, and hard dance tracks are incredible. They are nicely produced, they make me want to Melbourne Shuffle, and I dig the HUGE sample player size. I just really think fixing those three big complaints would make this THE place to download great Hardstyle music. So Hardstyle, while you did have some glaring flaws, I will definitely continue to check out your site from time to time.