Blink-182: The Billboard Cover Story
Blink-182: The Billboard Cover Story

Blink-182's new partnership with AT&T may have led to the band unveiling live content on AT&T's Facebook page. And the trio appeared in a national spot for the HTC Status phone. A partnership with Best Buy will let fans buy a uniquely colored HTC Status complete with preloaded Blink-182 music at the big-box retailer.

But the deal also led to the release of a "fan montage" for "Up All Night," in which the band put together a three-minute tribute clip after sifting through more than 10,000 "unauthorized" Blink-182 fan videos on YouTube. "To launch our first single in eight years, AT&T helped us search YouTube for every instance of fans using our music without our permission," a caption in the video reads. "And then we rewarded them for it."

In addition, Hoppus and DeLonge appear in a "film festival" for the fan montage currently on AT&T's YouTube page, in which they honor YouTube users in tongue-in-cheek categories like "Least Tattooed Travis Barker Impersonator" and "Best Fan Parody Video That Almost Ended in Manslaughter." "We've been able to integrate a number of different things across AT&T's different platforms," says Brian Frank, head of rock and alternative marketing for Interscope Geffen A&M.

Dennehy says that "Up All Night" has been primarily pushed to alternative and rock radio, helping the track reach No. 2 on the Alternative Songs chart and 116,000 in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, however, the next song released from "Neighborhoods", the non-single "Heart's All Gone," was unveiled online without warning through Hoppus' Google Plus account on Aug. 5.

"We decided we wanted to release 'Heart's All Gone,' and the next day we had it up," Hoppus says. The band members have stayed active on their personal Twitter accounts (Hoppus is in the lead with 1.8 million followers), and after releasing the "Up All Night" video online, the group challenged fans to post their favorite screen shots of the clip on Blink's Facebook page, and received 6,000 responses. "Now it's about getting directly to the people," Hoppus says. "It allows artists more direct access and a lot more control over their music."

Although Modlife won't be involved in the release of "Neighborhoods," the members' personal business ventures have been integrated into the 2011 Honda Civic tour, which Blink-182 is currently headlining alongside My Chemical Romance. Macbeth Footwear, which DeLonge co-founded in 2002, has had Blink-182 tour updates on its site's home page. Famous Stars and Straps, Barker's skater-focused apparel company, has tents at the band's recent concerts and sponsored a Blink-182 ticket giveaway in early September. According to DeVoe, giant airplane banners promoting Fuse's "Hoppus on Music" have flown over audiences at recent Blink shows.

Blink-182, My Chemical Romance Lead 2011 Honda Civic Tour

Last May, the band announced its spot on the Live Nation-promoted Honda Civic tour after serving as the annual trek's inaugural headliner in 2001. Although the album will be released well after the 41-date tour's Aug. 5 kickoff, Dennehy sees the band's return to the Honda Civic tour, which has previously featured acts like the Black Eyed Peas and Paramore, as a key partnership in the album rollout. The tour, meanwhile, continues the less-is-more venue strategy of the band's 2009 comeback trek: The group is playing four arenas and 37 amphitheaters, with tickets starting at $20.

As Blink-182 maps its future, and the end of the Honda Civic tour (Oct. 15), one factor has put a kink in its international touring plans: Barker's decision to no longer fly. For the postponed European dates next summer, "I'll be taking my Queen Mary ship over," Barker says. Hoppus adds that the band likely won't tour again before next summer, but hopes to visit places like Australia and Japan soon.

Meanwhile, the band is eyeing synch placements on ESPN and TV opportunities for the week of release. Indie retailers like Hot Topic and will carry different-colored vinyl editions of "Neighborhoods" that include MP3 download cards.

The trio will also spend time on solo endeavors - Hoppus will return to "Hoppus on Music," DeLonge will continue working with Angels & Airwaves, and Barker hopes to wrap a new Transplants album shortly. They have lofty individual goals outside of Blink-182, but none of them believes that "Neighborhoods" is the end of the band's recording career, or just a stopgap before their next large-scale tour. DeLonge describes the group as "funny and relaxed, and exactly back to where it was before things got crazy." Barker says the three are "cracking jokes, like it always was."

"We've always said we'd continue to do Blink-182 as long as it's fun," Hoppus says, "and when it wasn't fun we stopped it. Now that it's fun again, I want it to keep going for as long as I can."

Jason Lipshutz (@jasonlipshutz) works for and edits singles reviews for Billboard magazine.