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International booking agency Pitch & Smith divides

Three former P&S agents are launching a new agency while the founders look forward to "going back to basics" with a reduced workforce and roster

By IQ on 05 May 2021

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen is part of Playbook Artist's roster

image © Wikimedia Commons/Stian Schløsser Møller

European booking agency Pitch & Smith (P&S) has effectively split in two, with three former agents breaking away to launch new venture Playbook Artists.

Launched by Eleanor McGuinness, Nikita Lavrinenko and Paul McGivern, the new agency brings together more than 45 years of experience as well as a roster that includes Angel Olsen, Weyes Blood, Son Lux, Andy Shauf, This Is the Kit and Cut Copy.

Meanwhile, P&S founders Stefan Juhlin and Kalle Lundgren Smith will remain at the company along with team members based in London.

Juhlin tells IQ it was a mutual decision for the two parties to go their separate ways: “For Kalle and myself, we felt this was a good time to go back to where we once started, putting all our time and energy on fewer artists, with a very simple and straightforward organisation behind it. We’re confident this will benefit everyone, both ourselves and our artists.”

“For Kalle and myself, we felt this was a good time to go back to where [P&S] once started”

P&S will now be headquartered in Stockholm, where it was founded in 2007, with a roster that includes Caribou, José González and Toro Y Moi.

The agency will work will continue to work with the three former agents at Playbook, which will launch offices in London, Berlin and Dublin ‘to bring their international perspective to the European/UK live circuit’.

“The last year has been tough for the industry as a whole, but this feels like the perfect opportunity to collaboratively bring together the best of our experiences and shared values, and build something new with friends and partners,” says Playbook’s Paul McGivern.

“I don’t know two harder-working or more engaged agents than Eleanor and Nikita and I’m proud to be partners with them in the launch of PlayBook Artists.”

“We are all determined to bring new approaches and concepts to life and rethink what a modern, artist-focused agency can be”

Eleanor adds: “It’s important to all of us to support the independent network, especially after the challenges of the last year, and the years yet to come. Paul, Nikita and I come from a similar background of working independently, and we are very proud of that and the long term approach we have to our artists.”

Nikita comments: “It’s easy to get caught up in a “doom and gloom” mentality when the times are difficult. That’s why I love seeing excitement, energy and new ideas sprawling out conversations I have with Eleanor and Paul. We are all determined to come out of this stronger, bring new approaches and concepts to life and rethink together what a modern, artist-focused agency can be these days.”

The three partners will be joined by former Pitch & Smith agent assistant Duncan Smith, who will assume the role of agent with a roster that includes Happyness, Shopping, Lime Garden, LICE, Home Counties, and new signing Clara Mann.

Playbook follows the launch of Field Booking, Arrival ArtistsMint Talent Group and TBA Agency in the US, as well as Marshall Live AgencyMother ArtistsOne Fiinix LiveRoute One Booking and Runway Artists in the UK and Rebel Beat Agency in Spain, in 2020, amid a wider fragmentation of the global agency sector in response to the coronavirus shutdown.


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