Buskers are street performers that perform in public places for money. Such pedestrians were only introduced late in the Grand Theft Auto series, featuring in Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony and Grand Theft Auto V.
Buskers debuted in Grand Theft Auto IV in the form of saxophone-playing street musicians commonly spotted in affluent portions of Liberty City in Broker, Dukes and Algonquin, mostly in various parks, subway stations and waterfronts, as well as stages of the Superstar Café.
Evidently having only a saxophone as a music instrument, the Busker will only play songs that may also be heard on the Jazz Nation Radio 108.5 radio station. In most of his appearances, the busker is depicted with a buttoned up brown trench coat, and his music can easily be heard within hearing distance, a hint he is near the player. Most buskers also occasionally wear a hat showing he may be poorer than others by how worn out it is.
In GTA IV, when standing close to a busker, the player has the option of giving him $10, restoring the player's health and receiving an expression of gratitude from the busker, in the form of a simple "thank you". However, should the player push the busker, he may stop playing, drop his music instrument and respond unfavorably to the player. Running past a busker in close proximity will also force him to drop his saxophone and walk away. Unlike many minor items dropped by pedestrians, the player cannot pick up a busker's dropped saxophone.
After giving the busker $10 multiple times, the player will eventually receive the instrumental ringtone "St. Thomas " for their cell phone. This is one of the songs the busker plays and is also featured on Jazz Nation Radio.
- There were originally going to be buskers featured in Grand Theft Auto III. They were cut during development, however their pedestrian models still exist in the game files.
- The busker is voiced by Walter Houser, father of the Houser brothers. Walter Houser was "part-owner of London’s seminal jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, where the brothers were exposed to jazz stars throughout their youths."
- Sometimes when switching to Trevor in GTA V, he might be in front of the Oriental Theater, smashing a guitar to the street performer's head and yelling angrily: "Learn to play a fucking saxophone!". This is a reference to the GTA IV saxophone buskers, as guitar playing buskers were introduced in GTA V but the game does not feature the saxophone players.
- There is an odd glitch in TBoGT, where the buskers will simply start walking away when approached and won't be playing for the player, therefore, making the unique ringtone unavailable for Luis Lopez.