Scientists at Vienna university compared the composition of baroque music such as Mozart, Haydn and Bach - which are all widely believed to boost concentration -with traits used in pop music.
They discovered that certain tempos, rhythms and chorus structures in modern songs stimulated children to learn.
They even singled out songs, including "Misunderstood" by Robbie Williams, as well as hits by ex-Spice Girl Mel C, Norah Jones and Ronan Keating, as the perfect background music.
Konrad Zimmermann, director of LernQuadrat, one of Europe's largest providers of after-school private lessons, which funded the research, said they planned to look again at whether silence was the best atmosphere for learning.
He said: "Baroque music is obviously not fit for the young people of today, who prefer pop music. As well as music having the correct tempo, volume and frequency, children need to know and like it in order for it to have a stimulating effect on the brain."
But songs in which the tempo fluctuates or has computerised tones, such as house music, are intrusive and not conducive to learning, the study found.