When finalizing your taxes, a write-off is a good thing. The more itemized deductions you can tally, the lower your taxable income.
In the music business, however, the term can symbolize a less fortuitous financial situation. If an album fails to yield success upon its release, a label worries that consumers and radio may quickly write it off as a commercial disappointment.
In the spirit of thinking positive amidst one of the most, well, taxing, times of the year, here is a look at five albums in the last five years that ultimately padded artists' and record companies' checkbooks despite relatively low rates of interest from fans and/or radio programmers initially.
(The trend is not new, however. Before Def Leppard reeled off four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top 10s, including the No. 2 "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and No. 1 "Love Bites," from "Hysteria," the band ushered in its seminal set with the No. 80-peaking "Women." A year later, Paula Abdul watched her first two Hot 100 entries stop at Nos. 41 and 88, respectively. When the third try from "Forever Your Girl," "Straight Up," clicked at radio, Abdul was on her way to becoming idolized as the first woman to notch four Hot 100 No. 1s from a debut effort).
"The Script," the Script
The Irish trio's debut album bowed at No. 91 on the Billboard 200 a year ago this month. First single "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" helped introduce the group, reaching at No. 15 on Adult Pop Songs.
The set would not return to the Billboard 200's upper half, however, until 11 months later, as second single "Breakeven" furthered the band's profile. On the March 27, Billboard 200, "The Script" reached a peak-to-date of No. 64, logging its best sales week yet (9,000). "Breakeven" (fittingly, a term that doubles as a wish of many this tax season) this week jumps 6-3 on Adult Pop Songs and 10-8 Pop Songs. The album has sold 209,000 copies since its release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The still-humble band marvels at its success. Recalling a conversation with Paul McCartney, for whom the Script opened last year, Mark Sheehan told Billboard, "As (McCartney) was talking, he'd say 'when we were doing the same thing ...' I was, like, in my head, 'that we, by the way ... is the Beatles!' "
"Rated R," Rihanna
The album's opening sales sum could hardly be considered meek: 180,000 in its first frame, making for a No. 4 Billboard 200 debut.
At top 40 radio, however, first single "Russian Roulette" quickly ran out of luck, peaking at No. 21 on Pop Songs. The song's sudden stop marked a contrast to the run of singles from Rihanna's previous album, "Good Girl Gone Bad," which produced seven top 20 hits on the list, including the No. 1s "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia."
The subsequent radio tracks from "Rated R" have since ensured that the set is stocked with multiple chart monsters. "Hard" returned Rihanna to the Pop Songs top 10 (No. 9), while "Rude Boy" lifts 5-4 on the survey this week and spends a fifth week atop the Hot 100. A fixture in the Billboard 200's top 40 in all of its 20 chart weeks, the release has sold 815,000 copies to date.
"Never a failure, always a lesson," reads a tattoo that Rihanna recently revealed on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," a statement echoing her current album's resilience. She told the host, "It's basically saying, it's okay to make mistakes. Just don't do it twice."