U.K. to Introduce Age-Based Rating System for Online Music Videos

Mike Will Made It - 23 (Explicit) ft. Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa & Juicy J

Prime Minister David Cameron continues his push for explicit online content to be monitored.

Overtly sexual and explicit music videos distributed online are to carry advisory age ratings in the United Kingdom from October as part of a pilot scheme 'to help parents protect their children from graphic content,'  British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday (Aug. 18). Cameron has previously attempted to crack down on pornography.

The scheme commences Oct. 1 and will be implemented by YouTube and Vevo, working in association with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The U.K. arms of Sony, Universal and Warner Music have all given their support to the initiative, which will see will see record labels voluntarily submit content of an adult nature to the BBFC for classification into 12, 15 or 18 age categories.

Online music video platforms such as YouTube and Vevo will then include the ‘parental advisory’ age ratings ahead of music videos deemed unsuitable to young viewers. 

According to British labels trade body the BPI, the pilot is expected to run for at least three months, followed by a period of evaluation. If successful, online music platforms would be asked to introduce additional filters that would enable families to block adult or explicit content upon request.  

The scheme’s introduction coincides with changes to the Video Recordings Act, which from October will also require physical music video releases to include age-classification ratings.

“Helping families with children and parenting shouldn’t stop at childbirth,” Prime Minister David Cameron said during a speech at London’s Royal College of GPs in which he announced the pilot scheme.

“To take just one example -- bringing up children in an internet age, you are endlessly worried about what they are going to find online… From October, we’re going to help parents protect their children from some of the graphic content in online music videos by working with the British Board of Film Classification, Vevo and YouTube to pilot the age rating of these videos,” Cameron went on to state. 

The news was welcomed by representatives of the British music industry.

“The BPI agrees with government that, with so many more music videos now being released online through such sites as YouTube and Vevo, it is important this content is made available to the public in a responsible way that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of younger viewers and their parents,” said BPI spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo in a statement.  

Speaking to the BBC's Newsbeat, British singer Katy B also welcomed the introduction of music video ratings, stating: “I think it's good. I don't know why they haven't done that sooner."

U.K. rapper Professor Green, however, warned that the scheme would possibly have a “reverse effect.”

"If something's got an 18 stamped on it, then kids are going to want to watch it all the more," he told the BBC. “It's like when a video gets banned -- everyone hunts it down."