"In this day and age you need multiple partners," Mercado says. "Hot Topic has been great, but if you're talking an exclusive partnership or anything like that, I almost think it would slow things down."
And slowing down, for Paramore, isn't an option. The band finished 2007 on the road and spent most of 2008 in its bus, crossing the country and the world.
As 2009 dawned, Paramore stood atop the charts as part of the "Twilight" soundtrack. The band's involvement in the hysteria-provoking vampire flick was a direct result of Williams' love for the soapy series of novels on which the movie is based. "I got all the books for Hayley to take to London with her, because I'd been hearing so much about them," Janick says. "These 1things are huge; I thought they would keep her going for a while. And a week later she called me and said that she absolutely had to do a song for the movie. I think she said she read the first book on the plane, and she just devoured them. We sat down with Atlantic and [music supervisor] Alex Patsavas and made it happen."
"It was out of the blue for us," Williams says. "And then the next thing we know, 'Decode' [from the soundtrack] was charting really high on iTunes and the soundtrack went platinum. So they gave us plaques for 'Twilight.' Then it went double-platinum, so they had to change the plaque. We were kind of like, 'Really? This is awesome!' " The track has sold 850,000 downloads, according to SoundScan.
And while the band's "Twilight" track hit the bull's-eye with the teen market, Paramore's camp knows that the band will have to put in plenty of work for the new album. The group is currently on the road, opening for No Doubt and trying out new material.
"We're playing two new songs, 'Ignorance' and 'Where the Lines Overlap,' " Williams says. "Our fans know all the words to them, so they're singing along and having a good time every night."
But the carefully chosen opening slot is more than a chance for Paramore to test out some new tunes. "I've learned that there is a much bigger audience for Paramore than I had previously thought," Janick says. "I went to the show at PNC [Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J.] on Friday and I went to the show Saturday [at Long Island's] Jones Beach. It's a different crowd because you have No Doubt-they were huge about 12 years ago, and their core audience is a little older. It was massive; it was probably between 15 and 20,000 people."
According to Billboard Boxscore, shows on the tour from May 16 through June 17 have grossed $7,343,609, with a total attendance of 196,410. Of 12 shows during that period, three were sold out.
"I just couldn't believe the entire crowd knew not just the singles, but knew the other songs off the records," Janick says. "When you go to a Paramore show, it's nonstop from beginning to end-3, 5, 6,000 people singing every word to every song because it's their core fans. But then I go to this No Doubt show where Paramore's opening, and the majority of the people there still know the songs. Young kids, teenagers, people in their 20s and 30s, they all get this band."
But while the No Doubt crowd might point toward a strategy of inclusion in Paramore's marketing plan, Atlantic co-chairman/COO Julie Greenwald points out that the main targets will continue to be Paramore's young base.
"You need to remember there are 20 million teenagers in this land," she says. "When we hit 1.5 million albums sold, there were obviously a lot more people on the Internet that streamed our music, listened to our music, maybe stole our music, whatever. I think, hopefully, people have gotten to know Paramore now and will make the leap and buy the album, and I think that's going to expand it. I don't think I need to go find a 40-year-old woman or a 40-year-old man to expand my base."
For her part, Williams also thinks going to a whole new crowd would be a mistake. "The new record still sounds like Paramore," she says. "It feels like we've grown up a lot, but there's still the same core. And I like that, because we always want to progress and get better. At the same time we don't want to alienate our fan base."
"Ignorance," which Williams says bridges the gap between "Riot!" and the new album, will serve as the first single. The song mixes the more gothic elements of the band's "Twilight" track with the howling that was so prevalent on "Riot!"; it's been characterized as a breakup track.
MTV's Montgomery says that he sees Paramore's new album as the MySpace generation's version of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors."
"When I mentioned that to the band, they laughed, because they told us that's what they were going for," he says. "With less drugs, of course, and without the romantic entanglements. But it's definitely a breakup record on some level."
Williams also says that the album was a way for her to work through Paramore's sometimes-public feuding, including one argument that led to a string of canceled tour dates.
"It was tough for me to say some of the things I say in it, because I knew some of the guys were going to hear it, and it was about our band," she says. "I was kind of embarrassed and didn't know how they would take it. But once all those words were out on the table, it gave us the opportunity to hash through our problems and internal struggles that we had been facing. At one point we were hanging on by a little piece of thread. We had to rebuild things and we're still rebuilding things. This record is a log of that."
Janick says that for "Eyes" the band will sell a T-shirt and CD single through its partnership with Hot Topic and will follow up with a 7-inch and another T-shirt a month later. There will be three versions of the album: a standard album, an album with five acoustic bonus tracks and a deluxe package with a poster, DVD and color vinyl that will sell for $39.99. The band's Web site, Paramore.net, will relaunch, and the band will shoot a video for "Ignorance."
And then, of course, the band will go right back out on the road. "We're going to start off playing smaller venues than normal, 1,500- to 3,000-seaters in 20 U.S. cities in the fall," Mercado says.
Or, as Williams puts it, "Even if the record doesn't sell anything, I still want to go out and know I can play for kids every night."
Additional reporting by Mitchell Peters.