K-pop music videos may have to face yet another censorship hurdle this summer. New regulations set by the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) have the potential to make major waves in the industry over MV content rating, viewing, and distribution.
In the current system, music videos deemed too racy, explicit, or morally compromising are slapped with a 19+ rating and banished to after-dark time slots. In extreme cases, broadcast channels may also refuse to air the video. Even then, the MVs can still be uploaded to YouTube and used for marketing purposes. For example, banned videos like Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra” or Bang Yong Guk’s “I Remember” can’t air before 11PM on Korean television, but can play at any time to any viewer through their respective YouTube channels. Until this summer, videos could slip under the KMRB’s watch as long as they didn’t receive money from their online video.
Beginning August 18, all music videos must receive permission from the KMRB before being posted online, as well as display a rating label. Similar to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) “Parental Advisory” label we see often on American releases, the KMRB will require content to be labeled as “For the General Public,” “For People Over 12 Years / 15 Years,” “Not Suitable for Teenagers,” and “Restricted Viewing.”
Currently, there are no specific guidelines to which websites will be covered by the regulation. Details have surfaced, however, saying that material deemed unfit for minors will require a registration number to be viewed on most Korean media websites.
We’ve all complained about media regulators like the KMRB and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) before and even poked a little fun at some of the more ridiculous banning criteria. Jokes aside, with this new regulation, entertainment agencies and music video producers have to factor in yet another censorship headache to their marketing and promotions plans.