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YouTube and Vevo to add age ratings to music videos in U.K.

by Killian Bell | August 18, 2015August 18, 2015 5:12 am PST


YouTube and Vevo will display age ratings on music videos for viewers in the U.K. thanks to a government initiative designed to protect children from seeing inappropriate content. However, the ratings will only apply to U.K. artists represented by major labels.

The new measures “have been agreed voluntarily by parts of the music industry,” The Guardian reports, and YouTube and Vevo have worked alongside the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to create the ratings system.

Music videos will be classified in the same way that films are, with 12, 15, and 18 age ratings. So far, 132 videos have been submitted to the BBFC, and of those 56 were rated 12, 53 were rated 15, and just one — Dizzee Rascal’s gruesome “Couple of Stacks” video — was rated 18.

The U.K. government devised the new scheme amid concerns about the sexual content in music videos from artists like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Robin Thicke. However, it seems international artists like these will continue to go under the radar.

“Under the new system, big UK labels will send videos to the BBFC for classification ahead of release, and then pass on the rating and guidance given when releasing their videos to Vevo and YouTube,” explains The Guardian — but there is no system for international artists yet.

YouTube and Vevo will now use the ratings to determine which music videos are appropriate for viewers of different age groups. YouTube says they will compliment its existing restricted mode, while Vevo will explore new technology to strengthen the age controls on its site.

The Guardian

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...