This past Monday, August 18th, the U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced that inappropriate online music videos will have advisory age ratings in the U.K. as of October. The rating system is designed “to help parents protect their children from graphic content,” Cameron stated and will run for a trial period of three months before being evaluated. The ratings categories are ages 12, 15, and 18. Sony, Universal, and Warner Music in the U.K. have all offered their support to the idea, which will be put into effect by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Then, online music video platforms, like YouTube and Vevo, will provide the “parental advisory” age ratings prior to music videos in question, and record labels will submit content for classification by the BBFC voluntarily.
During his announcement at London’s Royal College of GPs, Cameron stated that, “Helping families with children and parenting shouldn’t stop at childbirth. 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 is also known cracking down on pornography, and this particular effort concurs with amendments to the Video Recordings Act, which will necessitate physical music video releases to provide similar age ratings starting in October as well.
The BPI (British Phonographic Industry), a British labels trade corporation, fully supports this idea, and says after the evaluation of the trial period, additional filters will be implemented to help families more specifically block unwanted content. According to Billboard, BPI spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo said in a statement, “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.” For those readers interested further in the UK censorship, read FDRMX’s blog of five classic songs that banned in the UK and why, on the Encyclopedia of Music here.