Writing the Popular Song

The public seldom becomes interested in any particular song writer, as it does in a fiction writer, a dramatist, or an inventor, and the best that a successful song writer may hope for is a financial reward, and a modicum of admiration in a circumscribed set. The popular-song writer quickly follows his own creations into oblivion. Once in a great while a man writes a classic that is taken up by the masses, and he and his work live in the memory of mankind long after his dead. (...)

"The Raven" was suficient to make Poe's name immortal, although his compensation in money was nothing when compared with that received by popular-song writers for verse of a much shorter lentgh. Poe is said to have been paid fifteen dollars for his poem, whereas Irving Berlin probably collected close to  forty thousand dollars for "Alexander's Ragtime Band". But money is at everything in life, at least not to Mr. Berlin's way of thinking, for he is credited with having said that he would rather have written four lines of "The Raven" than all his hits combined.

WICKES, E. M. Writing the Popular Song. Springfield: The Home Correspondence School, 1916.

Silvia Pato