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YouTube is ubiquitous with modern culture, serving as the go-to destination for all things video on the web. For a select few, however, Google’s video sharing platform is much more than an entertainment destination: it’s how they earn their living.
Forbes recently compiled its first-ever list of the highest earning stars on YouTube. Leading the pack is Felix Kjellberg, the 25-year-old Swede known online as PewDiePie who earned an estimated $12 million for the year ending June 1. That’s not a bad haul for someone that sits around and plays video games all day.
The complete top 10 earnings list is as follows:
- PewDiePie - $12 million
- Smosh - $8.5 million
- Fine Brothers - $8.5 million
- Lindsey Stirling - $6 million
- Rhett & Link - $4.5 million
- KSI - $4.5 million
- Michelle Phan - $3 million
- Lily Singh - $2.5 million
- Roman Atwood - $2.5 million
- Rosanna Pansino - $2.5 million
The YouTube stars are from all walks of life and cover a variety of material but the one thing most of them share is youth; the majority of top earners are under 30.
Forbes used a number of sources to reach its earnings estimates including data from Nielsen and IMDB as well as interviews with agents, lawyers, managers, industry insiders and YouTube stars themselves. All earnings estimates are before management fees and taxes.