The Guardian seems to have been the only source that I have spotted that actually tries to explain what will be going on:
Music videos will go through the same classification system as films and other video content. The voluntary pilot will
involve the big three music labels in the UK, Sony, Universal and Warner Music, as well as the BBFC, YouTube and music video platform Vevo. The pilot will run for three months, kicking off in October.
It is presumably related that music
videos sold or distributed on disc or other physical form and deemed to include 12-rated-plus material will have to go through the age-classification process also starting in October under amendments to the Video Recording Act. The music labels will
submit music videos that they consider could contain content that should be classified as for age 12 or over, using BBFC guidelines. The BBFC will then rate the videos as it does with other content, for which the labels will pay a fee to cover the cost
of rating in the same way that the film industry currently does. The rating process should take around 24 hours, according to the BBFC. A rating of 12, 15 or 18 will be assigned to the music video and passed on to the label. Videos deemed not to include
unsuitable content for children under 12 will not be classified.
The pilot scheme announced by Cameron will only cover music videos and will not be expanded to cover other video content on sites such as YouTube.
The music labels will tag
the video with the age rating from the BBFC when uploading the video to hosting services. YouTube and Vevo are part of the pilot study, and will be supporting the ratings, placing a visible age rating on the video title on the respective sites.
The visible rating will probably take the form of the BBFC's age certification logos, although that is not yet set in stone, and is intended to give parents more information about the videos their children are watching.
YouTube has a similar system for displaying BBFC ratings on films, and requires users to be at least 13 years old to have an account, although most videos are viewable without an account.
The three-month pilot is intended to finalise a
system that works for rating the videos and having the data tagged to them when uploaded to say they are classified. For the initial trial it will simply be a notification on the video of an age classification.
After the three-month trial it is
expected that YouTube and Vevo, as well as other video hosting services, will look at developing parental control filters that screen out videos marked as inappropriate for children of specific age ranges.
Only new videos submitted by the music
labels will be rated during the pilot, although there will be a decision at the end of the pilot as to whether videos that are already available should be retroactively classified.
The big three labels will conduct the pilot, but the BPI, which
represents Sony, Universal and Warner Music and more than 300 independent music companies, expects that all music labels will adopt the system once finalised.
During the pilot the ratings will be there for information purposes only, to help
parents make an informed decision. Parental controls on YouTube and others could be used to screen out videos via ratings, but their effectiveness will be determined by how difficult it is to get around age verification.
YouTube, like most other
online services, does not verify a user's age beyond the date of birth given by the user at the point of signing up for an account. Age verification issues are beyond the scope of this initial pilot scheme.
other countries follow suit?
19th August 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk
spoke to Gennaro Castaldo from the BPI and asked if the pilot will have any impact if music videos by American artists, known for being racier, aren't certified?
Yes it's true that a lot of music video content comes
from outside the UK, but also a huge amount of music that sells well around the world does come from Britain and from British artists.
So I think, what we do in this country is followed by other territories. So I'm sure they'll be
following our pilot with interest and in due course I think they'll then decide how they want to act on that.
I think this is a really good place to start, we have to start somewhere and if we can begin here in the UK, for other
territories to follow, then I think that would be a really good example too.