Age ratings on music videos to be made a permanent feature on YouTube and Vevo

Independent labels will also join government scheme for six-month trial period

Cinema-style age ratings on music videos will become a permanent feature following a successful government pilot.

Major labels Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music will continue to send videos to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) before putting them online, with independent labels set to begin a six-month trial of the same scheme.

The government says the scheme will “protect children from viewing inappropriate videos on the internet”, with videos rated 18 not loading automatically on browsers.

Nic Jones, executive vice-president international at Vevo, backed the move in a statement released today and said that the video-streaming company “welcomes” the news.

“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,” he said. “At Vevo, we support artists and their creativity, however, we understand the importance and value that age ratings provide parents and music fans to help inform their viewing, enabling them to make choices about what content they wish to watch.

“Vevo will be working with the BBFC as the scheme rolls out to make sure that age ratings are displayed in the most effective way on our platform, to provide the necessary guidance for audiences in a clear way.”

Meanwhile, British Phonographic Industry (BPI) chief executive Geoff Taylor also welcomed the introduction of the scheme.

“Britain is a world leader in making exciting and original music, in part because our artists have a freedom to express themselves that we rightly cherish,” he said.

He added: “While we must continue to uphold this principle, it is equally important that music videos are broadcast in a responsible way and that parents are given the tools to make more informed viewing decisions on behalf of their families.”

An initial trial of the age certificates was first introduced in 2014. One hundred and thirty-two videos were submmitted to the BBFC with just one, Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Couple Of Stacks’, rated 18. That video can be seen above and features Dizzee Rascal violently murdering people with a samurai sword.

Of the 132 videos submitted to the BBFC so far, 56 are rated 12 and a further 53 classified 15.