YouTube agrees to enforce government-backed age ratings on music videos

Controversy: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' music video in 2013
Controversy: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' music video in 2013

YouTube and Vevo will display clear age ratings on music videos in a government drive to protect children from viewing inappropriate content online.

The department for culture, media and sport announced this morning that it had agreed with the UK’s music labels to make permanent a pilot scheme launched in October 2014.

It comes after music videos, such as Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines in 2013, drew sharp criticism for being "offensive" and "sexist" as it appeared to show female models dressed in see-through nurse uniforms. The Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad which featured the video in a TV spot shown before the 7.30pm watershed.

The music labels will supply the videos ahead of release to the British Board of Film Classification, and then pass on the BBFC’s rating and guidance to Vevo and YouTube. The online video publishers will then display the ratings on the videos when they are viewed by users.

Baroness Joanna Shields, the minister for internet safety and security, said: "Movies in the cinema and music DVDs are age rated to inform the viewer and help parents to make informed choices.

"We welcome this voluntary step from industry to bring internet services in line with the offline world."

The government will now make the measures permanent for videos produced in the UK by artists represented by major labels, including Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK, Warner Music UK, as well as independent labels in a six-month pilot phase.

Nic Jones, the executive vice president, international, at Vevo, said the company would explore how additional technology could support age controls on its platform.

This article was first published on

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