Sorry, AC/DC, but rock’n’roll IS apparently noise pollution. At least according to science.

You gotta love it when science and rock collide.

An assistant professor at the MSU Department of Biology named Brandon Barton had an idea. Did AC/DC’s assertion that rock’n’roll ain’t noise pollution have any basis in science? Could that hypothesis be tested in a lab?

Turns out that the answer was “yes.”

From the Starkville Daily News:

I was listening to AC/DC, and I heard the song, and I thought to myself Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, that’s a testable hypothesis,” Barton said. “The alternative hypothesis is that rock and roll is noise pollution.

Barton’s team gathered together a bunch of Asian ladybugs (I’m sure they had their entomological reasons) and subjected them to a playlist featuring material from Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Guns N’ Roses, and AC/DC. Then came country music (Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, to be specific), a British band called Warble Fly (a folk band) and a series of environmental sounds (actual noise pollution like airplanes, jackhammers, etc.).  Would this dinner music affect the ladybugs appetite for aphids, their favourite meal?

“We immediately discovered that after about a day or a half day, 15 hours or so, the ones who had been exposed to the hard rock music, AC/DC, or even the city sounds, those loud kind of harsh sounds really reduced the number of aphids they consumed by a lot,” Barton said.

He said the number of aphids on the plants exposed to the heavy metal and city sounds was drastically higher than the number in the other samples.


He said as soon as the ladybugs were introduced, a stark difference was noticed, with the predators eating virtually all of the aphids. However, in the environments with rock music and city sounds, the predators consumed drastically fewer aphids.

Conclusion? Rock’n’roll (especially the AC/DC kind) is, in fact, noise pollution. At least to Asian ladybigs.

By the way, the resulting paper was dedicated to the late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Sorry, AC/DC, but rock’n’roll IS apparently noise pollution. At least according to science.

  • July 19, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Maybe they stopped eating because they wanted to actually hear the music. Hahaha


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