How Much do YouTubers Make: Top Earning YouTube Stars in 2015

The biggest earner on YouTube in 2015 made $12m and had 10 billion video views.

December 4, 2015

TV is dying. Viewership for 18- to 24-year-olds was down 20% this year and there’s no end in sight. So where are the viewers and dollars going? YouTube.

While our parents may not be cutting the cable cord quite yet, the 18 to 34 demographic on YouTube is absolutely booming. And so, with an astonishing four billion daily views, we’re answering the question you all have: how much do YouTubers make?

8 (tie). Rosanna Pansino: $2.5 million

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This self-trained chef has educated millions on what it takes to create the perfect nerd-themed baked goods. Pansino’s creations include Frozen Princess Cakes, Angry Bird Cupcakes, and Pornhub Scones. One of those three creations is made up, but here’s a link to her YouTube page. Figure it out for yourself.

8 (tie). Roman Atwood: $2.5 million

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Atwood has made a fortune tormenting his girlfriend with his prank YouTube Channel. He has well over a billion video views and over four million subscribers. One of his most popular popular videos is called “Killing My Own Kid PRANK!!“, which I think does a better job describing his channel better than I ever could.

8 (tie). Lilly Singh: $2.5 million

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Singh, also known as Superwoman, is absolutely dominating the Indian-American crowd. Similar to Russell Peters (one of the top-earning comedians on earth) is a Canadian-born joker with Indian roots, proving that the Indian-American “niche” may not be much of a niche at all.

7. Michelle Phan: $3 million

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Phan is a self-taught makeup artist who’s been creating videos since 2005. Phan’s video style was inspired by Bob Ross. While she’s making it rain from her video views (she has over eight million subscribers and 1.2 billion views), I think her real earning is with Ipsy, a Birchbox-style subscription service that she co-founded in 2011. Ipsy already has $100 million in funding at a $500 million valuation…

5 (tie). KSI: $4.5 million

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Video games. That’s how JJ Olatunji – aka KSI – has made his fortune. KSI has over 11 million subscribers who watch him play video games. I never thought I’d type out that sentence.

5 (tie). Rhett & Link: $4.5 million

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The oldest on the list, Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III make a hell of a living from their daily morning show, Good Mythical Morning. Rhett and Link are savvy marketers and recently signed a deal to create a new series on career development sponsored by Geico.

4. Lindsey Stirling: $6 million

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She dances and plays the violin at the same time. Here, take my money. In 2010 Stirling was on American’s Got Talent but got kicked off when Sharon Osbourne commented: “You need to be in a group … What you’re doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas.” Stirling now shares a manager with Lady Gaga, has 7.2 million YouTube subscribers and over 1.1 billion video views. Suck it, Sharon.

2 (tie). Fine Brothers: $8.5 million

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Aside from having over 13 million subscribers and 3.6 billion views, the Fine Brothers’ most successful feat was being the first multi-channel network. MCN are now common on YouTube, with Maker Studio being one of the largest (recently sold to Disney for $950 million). The Fine Brothers were involved in the founding of Maker Studio.

2 (tie). Smosh: $8.5 million

These two 28-year-old bros are earning their stacks from making videos on Pokemon. Proof. They released a full blown movie in July of 2015. Who would have thunk it?

1. PewDiePie: $12 million

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This beautiful and charming Swede is the most popular and richest YouTuber on earth. PewDiePie has over 40 million subscribers and 10 billion video views. To put that into perspective, The New York Times, which is arguably the most recognizable newspaper, has over 1,000 full-time employees… and they get roughly 800 million web visitors a year. So what are people watching on PewDiePie’s channel? Him playing video games…


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