In my first ranking of the top-paid YouTube stars, we have uncovered the 5 channels that have managed to earn the most from their Internet aspirations.
The list measures earnings before subtracting management fees and taxes. My figures are based on data from Nielsen, IMDB and other sources, as well as on interviews with agents, managers, lawyers, industry insiders and the stars themselves.
These 5 DIY filmmakers—directors, producers, actors all rolled into one—have made millions doing what members of older generations may consider more play than work. By commenting on videogames, serving up comedy, debriefing about beauty and dancing while playing the violin, they have attracted millions of fans—and the money in their (or their parents’) wallets.
1.Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) – $12 million
PewDiePie has close to 40 million subscribers, and has racked up millions in cash by solely talking while playing video games. That’s it, pretty much.
2.Ian Hecox & Anthony Padilla (Smosh) – $8.5 million
Smosh has been doing it for a while, with 21 million subscribers to their name. They do comedy sketches, have their own store and even released a movie that is being used to torture prisoners of war.
3.Benny & Rafi Fine (Fine Brothers Entertainment) – $8.5 million
The Fine Brothers have 13 million subscribers, and are most known for their “Kids React” videos. They should see how I react when I learn that’s what it takes to make a few million these days.
4.Lindsey Stirling – $6 million
Lindsey Stirling is a hot American violinist. Seven million subscribers agree with that statement, and her skills have brought her in six million dollars. Not bad, Stirling.
5.Rhett McLaughlin & Charles Lincoln Neal III (Rhett & Link) – $4.5 million
At almost four million subscribers, Rhett & Link have reeled in plenty of cash with comedy sketches, including rap battles. My rap career hasn’t quite made me that much money yet.