We have all seen a music video at some point which we thought was perhaps a little OTT or even that it crossed a line. Rihanna and Miley Cyrus have been criticised recently for “raunchy” music videos. Indeed it is not just the Mary Whitehouses of the world who worry about the influence of music videos on the youth of today. David Cameron mentioned his concerns last week during a speech about families, and admits he has banned his own children from watching certain content online. However, help could be at hand.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) who represents the UK’s largest record labels, the Digital Service Providers (DSPs), the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) together with the Government have announced a pilot scheme for the age rating of music videos released online in the UK. Major UK record labels (Sony, Warner and Universal) have signed up to the scheme, alongside YouTube and Vevo.

Technical details are still being developed, but the pilot will see UK record labels submit content to the BBFC for classification into 12, 15 or 18 age categories. Record labels will then include this classification with a ‘parental advisory’ style alert in its feed to the Digital Service Providers. The classification will also be seen in search results and alongside the video player itself so that users, including parents, can make a more informed viewing decision. The pilot will run from the 1 October 2014 and is expected to last for 3 months. If the pilot is successful, the next step could see DSPs to introduce filters linked to those age ratings so that families have the additional option to block video content they consider unsuitable viewing for children.

Additionally, regulations will come into effect on 1 October 2014 which amend the Video Recordings Act 1984. Videos in physical formats (i.e. DVDs) designed to educate or instruct, or concerned with sport, religion or music will now be classified by the BBFC. Previously these categories have been exempt from classification.