You might be aware of the enourmeous success of the song "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. (It has been number one in many countries, as different as Mexico, Lebanon, Austria; It is the most viewed, liked and commented YouTube video ever; it won four Grammy's a week ago; etc).

I would like to know, ideally with resort to some theories of music, but not restricted to that, what have scholars, critics of music, and perhaps music producers said about the success of the song (and video). Has there been some research on the topic?

I imagine producers of music are constantly studying trends in music and might have ideas about the characteristics that bring success to a song, and are constantly trying to exploit such characteristics.

PS: I asked this in the other music SE site, but was closed as off-topic for being primarily opinion-based. However, I am asking for research or ``professional analysis'' on the topic. I hope I will have better luck here.

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    The reason it was closed is that no one can tell you exactly why something is popular. Music theory is very good at telling you what something is, but it won't tell you that it will be a hit. From a business and marketing perspective you can get a sense what the consumers currently want, but by the time it comes out it may have already shifted. There's also some luck involved in this whole process since how the music propagates (radio, media, ads, ect) will greatly influence the adoption. this doesn't even include other factors that don't have anything to music. – Dom Nov 22 '17 at 21:19

There is an article on Vice called "The Actual Science Behind Why "Despacito" Bangs So Damn Hard", and although it's arguably light on actual science, it does provide some key insights, as does the original article it cites, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Depacito".

To summarize, the song uses a classic song structure, utilizing intro, verse, chorus and bridge. Harmonically, it is built around four of the most foundational chords in modern pop music, chords that have anchored hit songs for well over a century, in a progression that is newly trendy again. The song is also riding a wave of popularity for the tropical pop and reggaeton sound. Reggae rhythms are already ubiquitous in modern pop, such as in Justin Bieber's hit "Sorry," so reggaeton, the unification of reggae beats with Latin-style songs, is a natural next step.

I might add, with specific regards to the American Depacito remix, featuring Bieber, that combining an "exotic" foreign sound with an English lyric, established pop-star cover artist, or a toned-down, Americanized pop sound, is also a reliable recipe for monster hits. Compare, for example, Elvis' cover of black R&B artist Big Mama Thorton's "Hound Dog," pop idol Ritchie Valens' return to his Mexican roots with his hit "La Bamba," Madonna's arrogation of Gloria Estefan's Latin sound with "Who's That Girl," and the Americanized remix that broke "Macerena" as a hit with the English-speaking audience.

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    I really dislike articles like this as they are pretty much all fluff and all taking a stab in the dark at the reason for success . Nothing in the second paragraph is very useful when distinguishing this song from anything else. Based on that, any song with the typical pop format, standard chord progression and that is a mix tropical pop and reggaeton sound should be just as successful which we all know is not the case as I can guarantee there are many songs like that that will never even get play time on a radio station. – Dom Nov 22 '17 at 21:06

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