With the advance of technology and all that comes along with it, it’s no wonder that people can now make a decent living by posting random things on YouTube. The following list shows the top 10 earners on the popular site as of 2015:
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- 1 #8 (tie) Rosanna Pansino: $2.5 million
- 2 #8 (tie) Roman Atwood: $2.5 million
- 3 #8 (tie) Lilly Singh: $2.5 million
- 4 #7 Michelle Phan: $3 million
- 5 #5 (tie) KSI: $4.5 million
- 6 #5 (tie) Rhett & Link: $4.5 million
- 7 #4 Lindsey Stirling: $6 million
- 8 #2 (tie) The Fine Brothers: $8.5 million
- 9 #2 (tie) Smosh: $8.5 million
- 10 #1 PewDiePie: $12 million
#8 (tie) Rosanna Pansino: $2.5 million
Pansino is a self-trained chef who features baking tutorials on her YouTube channel. She has taught millions the science behind baking. Her first cookbook, The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us, will be published this month.
#8 (tie) Roman Atwood: $2.5 million
You’ve probably heard of Punk’d, but what Atwood has done takes that to the next level. Pulling pranks on innocent people is what he does best, and in the process he has attracted over 7 million followers. He has actually even had some success getting some big name brands on board such as Nissan, who partnered with him for a video that ran last January.
#8 (tie) Lilly Singh: $2.5 million
Superwoman, as her YouTube fans know her, is a stand-up comedian and singer. Her jokes are mostly about her ethnic background (her parents immigrated to Canada from India) but they bring in the dollars. She had a worldwide tour in 2015 for her singing career, which landed her performing in 27 cities worldwide.
#7 Michelle Phan: $3 million
Best known for her make-up tips and tutorials, Phan has found great success teaching others how to make themselves up to look like their favorite celebs, including Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie. But she is definitely in it for the long-haul, reinvesting most of her earnings— including her cosmetics line and ipsy, a monthly makeup-subscription service— right back into her business.
#5 (tie) KSI: $4.5 million
The British legend who was born Olajide Olatunji, has taken video game commentating to a whole new level. But that is just the beginning of his YouTube career. He has amassed nearly 11 million followers, and hopes to launch his music career.
#5 (tie) Rhett & Link: $4.5 million
Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III launched their famous “Good Mythical Morning” to start their comedy careers on YouTube. This is each of their second career path, as both earned engineering degrees from NC State and worked in corporate America before giving the comedy act a go. Today, just about half of their earnings come from sponsored deals—they’ve shot sponsored clips for their channels for such brands as Gillette, Wendy’s and Toyota.
#4 Lindsey Stirling: $6 million
Stirling is quite a unique and talented individual, combining her talent of playing the violin with her love of dance. She began posting videos of herself performing in 2007 after she was unable to find a major record label that was willing to sign her. Now they are begging to sign her. But Stirling prefers the organic and true fans she has accumulated stating, “It’s a very loyal fan base that wants you to succeed because they found you. It wasn’t some big radio station or record label that shoved art down someone’s throat.”
#2 (tie) The Fine Brothers: $8.5 million
Benny and Rafi Fine first started making waves with their React video series, which eventually earned them a a Daytime Emmy Award. In 2014 they were picked up by Nickelodeon which debuted their new show, React to That.
#2 (tie) Smosh: $8.5 million
Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, grew up in Sacramento, CA and were childhood best friends. They are now more commonly known as Smosh, a comedy act that got famous for live-action skits based on Pokémon games. From there, they took off and started growing. The two now run 5 different YouTube channels, including ElSmosh (Smosh en Espanol). Their first full-length movie, Smosh: The Movie, came out in July.
#1 PewDiePie: $12 million
Felix Kjellberg is a Swedish “dude” who launched a channel centered completely around “playing video games with your bros”. Somehow that channel has earned him nearly 40 million subscribers, who enjoy watching him playing the latest top games. Who would have ever thought that playing video games with you buddies could earn you $12 million a year?