This was from a few years ago, but I always found it interesting.
A group of researchers analyzed songs from a research point to view to try to determine if they could isolate the variables that make songs either popular or unpopular. (Their research was based on previous research used for artistic paintings.)
The "wanted" variables included:
- Medium length songs about 3 minutes long
- Alto and Baritone voices
- Melodic love songs
- Medium tempo
The "unwanted" variables included:
- Very long or very short songs
- Bagpipes, banjo, and tuba
- Cowboy songs
- Soprano and contrabass voices
- Very fast or very slow tempo
The trumpet did not make either list, BTW.
The next step was for them to hire composers and performers to write and perform music using those parameters. Links to the YouTube versions appear below, in case you are interested. The "bottom line" to this research is that things of this kind can help identify "what not to do" but cannot replace the intuitive creative process that tells you "what TO do." The research into paintings found similar results. ....but I have to admit the "Most Unwanted Song" is weirdly hypnotic in places. (If you can endure all 20 minutes of it.)