Age ratings on music videos 'not necessary'

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRihanna has been criticised in the past for being "too sexual"

An age ratings system put on music videos online would not work, the boss of the one of the world's most popular online music video services has said.

Rio Caraeff, CEO of Vevo, said: "I don't think it's necessary and I hope it doesn't come to that."

In 2011, a report commissioned by the government said introducing a system would protect children from sexual images and explicit lyrics.

Nearly 200 million music videos are watched per month in the UK on Vevo.

Row over ratings

The report published last year, carried out by Reg Bailey - the head of the Mothers' Union, said parents were unhappy about "an increasingly sexualised culture".

It highlighted music videos and recommended that they should come with age restrictions.

Speaking to Newsbeat, Caraeff said an age ratings system applied to online music videos would be "confusing and difficult to administer".

"It would just create a significant burden for the user, for the artist and the service provider," he said.

"People would consume less music, discover less content and watch less videos which is ultimately bad for revenue, commerce and royalties for artists. It'd be bad for business."

He said parents and guardians were responsible for the music videos their children consume online, adding "there's a lot worse out there on the internet than what's coming through music videos".

A statement from Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey said introducing age ratings on music videos online was "realistic".

He said: "I believe that the good will of the music industry is with us and that it will be better to work together towards the goals of online age verification than for the government to go down the route of legislation, which will just make life more difficult for everyone."

Artists' views

Artists have also clashed over the sexual imagery and explicit lyrics of some promotional clips.

In November 2011, Gary Barlow said: "I'm not a prude but I don't think I really want my children who are nine, 11 and two seeing these kind of videos at that age."

Kelly Rowland told Newsbeat that artists have the freedom to express themselves.

"God gave us parents for a reason - what you want your children to watch, you should monitor that. It's not up to an artist," she said.

Emeli Sandé said: "It's been like that for years - it's nothing new.

"But I do worry that so many young children are watching these things and idolising these people for the wrong reasons."

Meanwhile, the video for Madonna's new single Girl Gone Wild has been given an 18 age restriction on YouTube.

The website sometimes review content after it has been flagged by users.

Fans' feelings

Music fans also have differing opinions on the introduction of an age ratings system.

Sarah Hardcastle, 21, from Eastbourne said: "It sounds good. You don't want kids to watch really sexualised videos."

Matthew Viura, 23, from north London, said: "I don't think it'll work because I don't think they can have real control over it.

"Even if they did put a warning, people can bypass it easily."

It's unclear what a ratings system for music videos would look like, but it could be something similar to cinema-style certification.

Vevo says it never edits any videos.

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