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Online music video age rating pilot to begin this Friday

By | Published on Wednesday 1 October 2014


The BPI and British Board Of Film Classification’s pilot scheme for slapping age ratings onto online music videos will go live this Friday, it has been confirmed. It had been expected to begin today, though as back in August no one seemed to have any idea how it was going to work, a two day delay doesn’t seem that bad.

The pilot scheme will be run with participating labels, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music (ie all three majors) and apply to all music videos released by those labels in the UK. Which likely means that the bulk of the more problematic music video releases of recent times, released in the US and originating with the major’s local subsidiaries there, will not be covered by the scheme. Still, this is just phase one, so maybe that’ll be fixed further down the line.

Videos that are deemed to need a rating will be given a 12, 15, or 18 certificate, while anything containing content that would not attract a 12 classification or above will not have to be submitted to the BBFC for review. Once ratings have been applied, the labels themselves will pass these on to Vevo and YouTube, which will display them whenever the videos are played – though this will not actually happen until phase two of the three month pilot, which is due to be announced at a later date.

BBFC Assistant Director David Austen said: “Our most recent large scale research, carried out in 2013 and involving more than 10,000 people, highlighted access to music videos containing sexualised imagery, self-harm, drug use and violence as a key concern for parents. Parents are eager to have more input over the types of content their children access, particularly online. By applying understood and trusted BBFC age ratings to online music videos this pilot is a vital step in meeting this demand for choice and child protection”.

BPI big man Geoff Taylor added: “We want to give parents the information they need to make more informed decisions about the music videos they are happy for their children to see. That’s why we introduced the Parental Advisory Scheme almost 20 years ago and why we are now working with the BBFC and with video platforms to pilot age ratings for UK music videos. We hope that if the pilot is successful, video services will consider introducing parental filters as a key next step”.

It’s estimated that around 20% of the videos submitted during the pilot will require a rating.