It’s been over 15 years since we first saw the parental warning labels on our cassettes and CD’s. In that 15 years, the entire face of how we listen to and acquire music has changed, but the label has remained the same.
If the British Phonographic Industry has its way, that will soon change and we’ll start seeing the label again but in entirely different ways. The Guardian is reporting that BPI is set to update the scheme, and BPI’s CEO understands the difficulty in that:
We think it is important for parents to get the same standards of guidance and information online as they get when buying CDs or DVDs on the high street. We are updating our… scheme for the digital age to ensure that explicit songs and videos are clearly labelled.
The question, of course, is how the warnings will be implemented. With visual services, it’s a bit easier. But what about audio-only sources? Even services such as Spotify show cover art that could display a warning label but there are vast, miniaturized options that have only sound and not a picture one with them.
Those warnings labels have quite the history in the US, as well. While some artists bemoaned its presence, others embraced the label and even chose to use it as cover art.