Outsider musicians include solo artists and bands who are not part of the music business who write bizarre or emotionally stark songs that ignore structural conventions, either because they have no formal training or because they disagree with formal rules. Their music has few outlets and performers or recordings are often promoted by word of mouth, usually among communities of music collectors and music conoisseurs. Outsider musicians are usually autonomous, have much "greater individual control over the final creative" product either because of a low budget or because of their "inability or unwillingness to cooperate" with modifications by a record label or producer.
Outsider musicians include:
- Jack Mudurian
- Eilert Pilarm
- Lucia Pamela
- Shooby Taylor
- Robert Graettinger
- B. J. Snowden
- The Residents are a dadaist American band who have maintained complete anonymity throughout their career.
- The Shaggs were a 1960s rock band of sisters with only rudimentary musical skill, whose ineptitude was subsequently praised as intuitive musical honesty.
- The Tiger Lillies, formed in 1989, are a darkly humourous Brechtian cabaret three-piece from London, UK.
- Syd Barrett (1946-2006), psychedelic folk pioneer, was a founding member of Pink Floyd.
- Captain Beefheart (1941- )
- Eugene Chadbourne (1954- ) North Carolina "composer" and lawn-tool player
- Roky Erickson (1947- ), a one-time mental patient, is the reclusive and eccentric former leader of the 13th Floor Elevators.
- Jad Fair is a solo artist and member of Half Japanese.
- Larry "Wild Man" Fischer (1945- ) is a street musician who sang for dimes, later discovered by Frank Zappa and was the first artist recorded by Rhino Records.
- Bingo Gazingo is a retired New York postal worker turned slam poet.
- Ralph Gean is a 64 year-old country and western singer from Texas who sings songs about unusual subjects.
- Louis "Moondog" Hardin (1916-1999) was a blind poet, percussionist and composer who designed his own musical instruments and lived as a busker on the streets of New York City for fifteen years.
- Jandek is a Texas-based singer/songwriter who largely avoids publicity, but releases albums prolifically.
- Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944)
- Daniel Johnston (1961- ) is a Texas singer-songwriter known for recording music on his radio boom box.
- Sexton Ming (1961- )
- R. Stevie Moore (1952- )
- Jack Mudurian
- Lucia Pamela (1904-2002) was an eccentric entertainer best known for recording a music album in 1969 about her fictional travels to the moon.
- Harry Partch (1901-1974) was a composer who built his own instruments according to his own system of musical scales.
- Skip Spence (1946-1999) was a former Moby Grape member who produced one cult classic album, Oar (1969), of stark, strange folk music.
- Foe Tamajiro is an Japanese outsider musician , living in Las Vegas. Founder of shocker_tv.
- Jan Terri is a middle-aged limo driver from Chicago, who has released several albums and videos.
- Gordon Thomas (1917- ) is a former big-band trombonist and musical folk artist.
- Silvano Togneri (d. 2006) was an Italian outsider musician, born in Barga, Italy.
- Bob Vido (a.k.a. Robert Zaprian Vidoloff)
- Wesley Willis (1963-2003) was a 350 lb. roaring schizophrenic from Chicago who sang songs about fast food, public transportation and his favorite bands, among myriad subjects.
- Wing is a Hong Kong-born New Zealand singer.
- Eden Ahbez
- Armand Schaubroeck
- Tiny Tim
- Joe Meek,
- The Cherry Sisters,
- The Legendary Stardust Cowboy,