It's no secret that the entertainment world is changing. A lot of us don't even consume the news and entertainment in the traditional way anymore (TV and print). Rather, we do it entirely via the internet.
This is by no means a bad thing: internet platforms like YouTube have long been established as good places to get quality content. The YouTube era has also given us the idea of the "YouTube Celebrity." This is a person who isn't famous because they're in a movie, TV show or singing on a music album, it's because they're on YouTube doing all of those things instead. Sure, these people aren't as famous as the A-listers of Hollywood, but they have rampant, rabid fanbases that are getting bigger by the day. More to the point, some of these YouTube celebrities are more famous than some A-listers.
Some of these YouTube celebrities made their money by playing video games and streaming the footage, something that people can also do on Twitch. Others simply posted vlogs every week or so and gained followers the more the viewers got to know them. Still, others made a name for themselves by releasing music through YouTube if they didn't get a ton of headway the traditional way. No matter how all these guys got famous, they still managed to make a ton of money, even becoming millionaires off of this. Here are fifteen of the most notable YouTube celebrities who made this list for either just entering the top echelons of earners or by being YouTube mainstays.
15 Sean William McLoughlin/Jacksepticeye - Worth $9 Million
Jacksepticeye isn't the richest Let's Player on YouTube, but if he keeps going in the direction he's in, he's probably going to make a lot of lists very soon. His channel is the 31st most subscribed out of all channels on YouTube, and while he has fewer subscribers than some on this list, what makes him special is the pace with which he's been able to grow his channel. Currently, he's worth something like $9 million, and it's actually not hard to see why. He's widely known as "the most energetic YouTuber" thanks to his fast-paced commentary and Irish themed greeting, a nod to Ireland, where he's from. While Jack has acknowledged that his rise to YouTube stardom has been meteoric, it comes with a huge workload: it takes a 12-hour workday to produce his two daily videos at the quality he releases them at.
14 Rosanna Pansino/Nerdy Nummies - Cupcakes Worth $10 Million
Rosanna Pansino, the person behind the positively adorable YouTube cooking show Nerdy Nummies, started her YouTube channel to get better with working with a camera since she wanted to be an actress. If you're a person who follows weird reality TV, you might have actually seen her in the second season of Scream Queens, which aired in 2008 and aimed to find the star of Saw 3D. Scream Queens actually launched a few careers, like that of Rosewood's Jessica Ortiz and Love and Hip Hop's Karlie Redd. It's Rosanna that ended up rolling in that sweet YouTube money, though: she's worth $10 million and earns over two million dollars a year. She released a cookbook, cookware, and even a music single called "Perfect Together" that has 16.7 million views.
13 Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy (The Slo Mo Guys) - Net Worth Eclipsed By Their Individual Net Worth
The Slo Mo Guys are made up of Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy, and they're part of the Rooster Teeth umbrella. Rooster Teeth started off as a small company that put out animated shows like Red vs. Blue, but over the course of the past decade or so, the company has become the closest thing to a media conglomerate the Internet has, essentially acquiring or producing YouTube channels like Death Battle, Funhaus, Achievement Hunter (of which Gavin is also a member), and the Slo Mo Guys. Chances are you've seen a Slo Mo Guys video at some point: the channel has over a billion individual views and their videos regularly go viral. The Slo Mo Guys are worth about $750,000 and make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, but it's the worth of the individuals that make up this channel. Dan "#DanTheMan" Gruchy's net worth hasn't been reported, but Gavin Free is worth over $5 million and has provided slow motion for big budget movies like Sherlock Holmes.
12 Lindsay Stirling - YouTube + DWTS = $6 Million In 2017
Lindsey Stirling has managed to turn her YouTube fame into something a lot more mainstream. She comes from modest beginnings: she spent time as a Mormon missionary and learned how to play the violin via weekly 15-minute sessions since that's all her family could afford. We first became aware of her existence when she got eliminated as a quarter-finalist on America's Got Talent, which was something that actually made her feel pretty badly at the time. After that, she started making YouTube videos. Nowadays, America's Got Talent has to be smarting over that missed opportunity, since she's currently touring and is currently worth something like ten million dollars. She actually made $6 million in 2017, the bulk of which was made with tours and concerts, not videos. In 2017, she had a fantastic run on the 25th season of Dancing With The Stars. She ultimately lost to Jordan Fisher, though.
11 Felix Kjellberg/Pewdiepie - The Highest Paid YouTuber
PewDiePie is actually considered the richest person on YouTube, but given recent events, that could very well be changing very quickly. He's worth something like $78 million thanks to his YouTube channel where he makes gaming videos called Let's Plays. He'd actually make a lot more if his home country, Sweden, didn't have such high taxes. However, the tides are turning for Pewds. He's been mired in scandals having to do with his racist words: he's been called out for giving people an anti-Semitic Fivver project and saying a racial slur during a stream. That caused him to lose his Disney partnership, which could have made him even more money.
He seems to have learned in 2018, though: when former Viner turned YouTuber Logan Paul (who got kicked off this list along with his brother for this incident) posted a video of himself wandering Japan's suicide forest and laughing after making a string of videos being totally obnoxious in Tokyo. Pewdiepie was quick to condemn him. Here's hoping Pewds has learned his lesson.
10 Rhett and Link/Good Mythical Morning - Worth Nearly $16 Million Put Together
Rhett and Link have been YouTube mainstays for years now. I actually remember watching Rhett and Link when I was a fifteen and YouTube had only just launched. While I may have just given away my age, Rhett and Link certainly don't: both are in their 40s but don't look it at all. They've never been the highest earners on YouTube and have actually fallen down in the ranks of richest YouTubers over the years, but the duo is still worth an impressive amount of money. They're worth nearly 16 million dollars put together, but that's across a few channels. There are the main Rhett and Link channels, where they have songs and other funny videos. There's also Good Mythical Morning, a talk show style video series that puts out new episodes every weekday, like a regular TV morning show.
9 Colleen Ballinger/Miranda Sings - $8 Million And Counting
Miranda Sings is a persona that Colleen Ballinger puts on, but it's this persona that launched her career. She came up with the idea while watching "bad singers" get big breaks on the Internet and figured she could do it too. She based the whole Miranda Sings person on someone she knew in college, which is either the biggest insult to that person or the biggest compliment to that person given how appealing Miranda Sings has turned out to be. It was just supposed to be something fun she did, but soon the views came in and she got more popular. Today, she has over eight million followers and tours the country with her Miranda Sings act. She's currently worth about eight million dollars and sits pretty at over 1.3 billion lifetime views. She also has several other YouTube channels, like PsychoSoprano.
8 Tyler Oakley - One Of The First In The YouTube Game, Worth $8 Million
Tyler Oakley is probably one of the first YouTube personalities to ever get into the game, and it paid off for him in a very big way. He started making videos back in 2007 and his channel went on to earn 200 million views and has nearly eight million subscribers. He was formerly a member of a group called 5AwesomeGays and produced their videos for over three years. While he's achieved a lot of success on YouTube, lately he's been doing a lot of things outside of that. He's won Teen Choice Awards, make public appearances for charities like the Trevor Project, and written books like Binge. Currently, he's signed to Ellen Degeneres' production company. He makes hundreds of thousands of dollars from all of his projects and is worth $8 million.
7 Jenna Mourey/Marbles - "I Make More Money Than I Need, Ever."
If you're not into the whole vlogging community on YouTube, chances are you've totally missed Jenna Marbles. She's been on YouTube for years now, making her one of the more established personalities on the platform. She's a former bartender, go-go dancer, and blogger who used her funny videos about avocados and other topics like that to make a ton of money while making content millions of people like. She used to rent an $800 room in a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but thanks to YouTube, she went from that to renting a million-dollar townhouse in Santa Monica, California. As for her actual net worth, she makes several hundred thousand dollars a year and while we don't have established numbers, different estimates put her as worth nearly three million dollars. She once told the New York Times: "I make more money than I need, ever."
6 German Garmendia/HolaSoyGerman - The Biggest Latin American YouTube Star, Worth $9 Million
German Garmendia is probably the most famous Latin American YouTuber out there. He was born in Tierra Amarilla in Chile in April 1990. His two YouTube channels, HolaSoyGerman and JuegaGerman, have a combined total of nearly 50 million subscribers, and Hola SoyGerman is the second largest channel on YouTube. He's the first YouTuber to earn two Diamond Play Buttons from YouTube because both his channels passed 10 million subscribers. He's a voice actor and comedian who also sings, and he earns around $5-6 million a year. As for his net worth, he's worth a cool nine million dollars. However, he doesn't make all his money on YouTube. He also wrote a book back in 2016 called #Chupaelerro that was a really big deal in both Spain and Latin America. While you might not know who he is, anyone who speaks Spanish knows him as a major YouTube A-lister.
5 Mark Fischbach/Markiplier - Net Worth Of $16 Million And Gives To Charity Every Month
Markiplier isn't the highest paid Let's Player on the YouTube platform, but he is by far one of the biggest influencers with a channel that hasn't stopped growing for years now. He currently has somewhere around 20 million subscribers and his videos have 7 billion views. His net worth has been debated, but the best sources put his net worth at 16 million dollars. He's the 29th most popular channel on all of YouTube, making him one of the biggest gaming icons in the YouTube game right now. He recently won the award for the top gaming influencer in the world by Forbes and recently entered their list of richest YouTubers, which is no small accomplishment. Additionally, he makes it a point to give to charity, taking part in lots of charity events and doing a charity livestream every month. This makes him one of the most generous YouTube stars out there as well.
4 Ian Andrew Hecox and Daniel Anthony Padilla/ Smosh - $11 Million And Counting
Smosh is made up of Ian Andrew Hecox and Daniel Anthony Padilla and is the third wealthiest YouTube personality on the whole network, surpassed only by PewDiePie and Michelle Phan, who leaves both channels in the dust. Smosh was created back in 2003 on the site Newgrounds before it moved on to Youtube in late 2005. Today, the channel has over 22 million subscribers and is worth $11.8 million. However, Smosh is another channel that's moved on to other forms of media. They have their hands on a ton of projects, like Smosh: The Movie, new cartoons (their bread and butter and what made them famous early on), and even a sitcom. They also have other successful offshoot channels that help with their net worth, like Screen Junkies (the host of Honest Trailers) and Smosh Gaming, their answer to the Let's Play craze.
3 Benny and Rafi Fine/The Fine Bros - $12 Million And Their Own Entertainment Company
The Fine Bros have several channels, but you'd probably know them best for the REACT series, where they gather a bunch of people together and have them react to different things. Some episodes involve kids, some involve the elderly, while others use teenagers or other YouTubers. Apart from that, they have their main channel, TheFineBros, where they make a lot of other videos. They have over five billion views on their REACT videos and that channel has nearly sixteen million subscribers. As for their main channel, they have about four billion views on those videos and 14 million subscribers. They are currently worth $12 million and counting thanks to their many channels, which is kind of a YouTube entertainment empire at this point.
2 Michelle Phan - Worth $50 Million, So Rich She Transcended YouTube With The Creation Of Ipsy
Michelle Phan is by far the richest YouTuber on the platform despite not making a YouTube video for years now. In order to find out why that is, we need to look at her career. In the beginning, Michelle Phan made her YouTube money with makeup tutorials, quickly becoming a beauty guru with 8.8 million subscribers. That would have been all well and good, but then Michelle Phan got into the makeup game herself with EM Cosmetics, which relaunched this year after a bit of a rocky start which put Phan herself on a year-long hiatus. On top of that, she created a makeup subscription called Ipsy. Michelle Phan herself is worth $50 million dollars, which already makes her one of the richest YouTubers, but now that she's transcended YouTube and has her different companies, she's worth a lot more. Ipsy alone is valued at nearly $500 million, making Phan the first woman to create a corporate empire via YouTube.
1 John and Hank Green/Vlogbrothers - Made $5 Million Making Videos And Writing Books That Make Everyone Cry
If you're wondering why you didn't know that John Green was a YouTuber, chances are you know him much better as an author of books that make people cry, like The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. As for Hank Green, he's the guy behind EcoGeek, an environmental technology blog, and helps out with other channels like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and SciSchow. Together, these two make up Vlogbrothers, a wildly successful YouTube channel with millions of followers. Hank Green is worth $2 million on paper while John Green is worth $5 million. However, this is just the public number: given what both brothers are working on, there's no way this is their net worth. For example, The Fault in Our Stars netted John Green about nine million dollars, and he's written other books that have also sold millions of copies. There's actually no way to know how much these two are worth right now, we just know they're worth a lot.