The government is working with the UK music industry, British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and digital providers YouTube and Vevo on the scheme, which has now been made permanent following a pilot programme that started in October 2014.
The ratings apply to videos produced in the UK by artists who are represented by major labels – Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK – with the government encouraging independent UK music labels to follow suit.
The majors will supply videos to the BBFC ahead of release, which will then give them an age rating. These will then by passed on by the labels when they release their videos to Vevo and YouTube. These two services will display the rating when the videos are viewed online.
“Many children have easy access to music videos online and some parents are rightly concerned that some of these contain imagery or lyrics not appropriate for a young audience,” said the government in a statement.
It claims that “up to 60% of children aged 10 to 17 are watching music videos that they do not think their parents would approve of.”
“Vevo have been participating in the BBFC’s age ratings pilot since its inception and welcome news that that scheme is to be permanently backed by UK major labels. We are very pleased that the UK independent labels – such an important part of the UK music landscape will now be part of this scheme,” said Nic Jones, executive vice-president of international at Vevo.
Candice Morrissey, content partnerships manager at YouTube EMEA added: “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. 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.”