David Knight - 19th Aug 2015

Following a six month trial period, age classification will now become a permanent feature of British music videos produced by UK major labels that appear online on sites such as Vevo and YouTube.

Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music will send completed music videos to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), in order to be rated in the same fashion as a feature film, before their release online.

It follows the pilot scheme in which 132 videos have been submitted to the BBFC. 56 videos have been rated 12 and 53 classified 15. Only one, the Emile Sornin-directed video for Dizzee Rascals' Couple Of Stacks, received an 18 certificate.

The permanent scheme will only apply to music videos released by UK-based labels, and videos from non-British artists will be exempt from the classification. The ratings will be displayed on the webpage of the sites in which they feature, not on the actual videos (as in the case of Calvin Harris's Open Wide video on YouTube, below).

Independent British labels will now be starting their own six month trial of the scheme, so in effect most label-commissioned music videos in the UK will be operating under the age rating scheme from now on. British music industry body, the BPI, has thrown its weight behind the scheme - which despite British government backing, is voluntary. 

Despite widespread criticism that the age classification system is ineffective and unworkable, Vevo and YouTube have also backed the extension of the scheme. "We have been working with the participants in this pilot to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube," said Candice Morrissey from YouTube. "These ratings are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability for uploaders to add age warnings to videos and a restricted mode."

Five reasons why age ratings on music videos probably won't change your life (BBC Newsbeat)

Shocking stuff sells: Lily Allen director on music video age ratings (BBC)

David Knight - 19th Aug 2015

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