The album saw the group taking creative control from writing and producing their own tracks working closely with producer Eric Nealante Phillips and singer-songwriterXscape member Kandi Burruss. "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Bug a Boo" were among the first songs written and produced by the group.
In the United States the album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 on August 14, 1999 selling over 132,000 copies in its first week and slipped to #10 the following week with 100,000 copies. It remained in the Top 40 for most of 1999 and had sold over 1.6 million copies by the end of the year according to Nielsen SoundScan and was certified 2× platinum in January, 2000. Nine months after its release The Writing's on the Wall, following the huge success of its third single, the Billboard Hot 100 number one "Say My Name", returned to the top ten peaking at #5 on May 6, 2000. During its first year on the chart it spent 47 out of 52 weeks in the Top 40 (including 11 weeks in the Top 10) or better and was the tenth best-selling album of the year 2000 selling 3.8 million copies during the year. The Writing's on the Wall enjoyed its best week of sales more than one year after its release when it sold over 163,000 units during Christmas week 2000, and by the release of the group's third album Survivor it had scanned 5.8 million in the U.S. and shipped over 7,000,000. The Writing's on the Wall spent 99 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200 (from the summer of 1999 to the spring of 2001) and was certified eight-time platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on November 8, 2001. It has sold 6,347,000 copies to date in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan, and over 700,000 at BMG's Music Club.
Worldwide The Writing's on the Wall was a similarly huge hit and became one of the best-selling R&B albums of all-time. It achieved gold, platinum and multi-platinum status across Europe and was certified 2× platinum by the IFPI in early 2001 in recognition of 2 million albums sold. In Canada the album peaked within the top and was certified 5× platinum (500,000 sales), it was certified 3× platinum in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Note: Tracks one through fifteen end with a short spoken interlude which relates to the following song, which is spoken by the band members. Each interlude is in the style of the Ten Commandments and are listed on the front of the disc.
In December 1999, Luckett and Roberson attempted to split with their manager, claiming that he kept a disproportionate share of the group's profits and unfairly favored Knowles and Rowland. While they never intended to leave the group, when the video for "Say My Name" surfaced in February 2000, Roberson and Luckett found out that two new members were joining Knowles and Rowland. Prior to the video premiere, Knowles announced on TRL that original members Luckett and Roberson had left the group. They were replaced by Michelle Williams, a former backup singer to Monica, and Farrah Franklin, an aspiring singer-actress. Shortly after her stint with Monica, Williams was introduced to Destiny's Child by choreographer Braden Larson aka "Peanut Orlando", and was flown to Houston where she stayed with the Knowles family.
In March 2000, Roberson and Luckett filed a lawsuit against Mathew Knowles and their former bandmates for breach of partnership and fiduciary duties. Following the suit, both sides were disparaging towards each other in the media. Five months after joining, Franklin left the group. The remaining members claimed that this was due to missed promotional appearances and concerts. According to Williams, Franklin could not handle stress. Franklin, however, disclosed that she left because of the negativity surrounding the strife and her inability to assert any control in the decision making. Her departure was seen as less controversial. Williams, on the other hand, disclosed that her inclusion in the group resulted in her "battling insecurity": "I was comparing myself to the other members, and the pressure was on me."
Towards the end of 2000, Roberson and Luckett dropped the portion of their lawsuit aimed at Rowland and Knowles in exchange for a settlement, though they continued the action against their manager. As part of the agreement, both sides were prohibited from speaking about each other publicly. Roberson and Luckett formed another girl group named Anjel but also left it due to issues with the record company. Although band members were affected by the turmoil, Destiny's Child's success continued. The following years of their career were seen as the group's most successful stretch, becoming a pop culture phenomenon.