MUMBAI: The news of Worldspace Radio shutting down has shocked its subscribers in India, a country that housed 95 per cent of its subscription base. Music lovers are aggrieved at the abrupt termination of the music service from 31 December.
It is the loss of music that the users are upset about most, over the monetary damages they will have to bear.
Says a Worldspace regular, "It was the only thing that kept the music alive to the best of quality and diversity. It really feels strange and profoundly sad to refer to Worldspace in the past tense."
"Different people have different tastes in music It was only Worldspace that caters to all of them. Shruti, Orbit rock, Farishta, Jhankar, Bob etc. You tell me your liking and I will tell you the channel on Worldspace. If they have such good content, how can they close down? How can there be nobody to buy them out?" questions Shanti Rajesh, who has started a group on social networking site Facebook called Keep World Space India Alive. The advocacy group already has more than 380 members campaigning to keep Worldspace operations alive in India.
"Bob, the alternative rock channel, and Riff, the jazz channel, were amongst my favourites. The number of bands I came to love through these channels, I cannot count, but I'm sure there are quite a few. I find all of the usual radio stations here in Bangalore to be nowhere in terms of the quality of music played - it's the usual Hindi Bollywood soundtracks all the time. I really hope it all gets sorted out and Worldspace is back as soon as possible," says an anonymous fan whose only source of world music is being snatched away.
Ramya Krishnamurty from Bangalore writes on her blog, telling the world about her grief. "When my Worldspace receiver will crackle no more two days from now, an inanimate but inseparable partner over the last nine years will suddenly vanish from my life. I will become a Worldspace widow. It is a loss difficult to explain, even more difficult for those unaware of the phenomenon to understand what it means," she says.
With the lack of niche music on private FM radio stations as well as the state owned All India Radio, music afficonados have no other source to tune into international or even regional music any more.