- Forbes recently released its list of the highest-paid YouTube stars of 2018, based on data and interviews with industry insiders.
- The list is exclusively male, and half of the top-earning YouTubers share a focus on video games.
- Collectively, the 10 top-earning YouTubers take home more than $180 million a year.
- Brothers Jake and Logan Paul earned more than $35 million between June 2017 and June 2018
Forbes has released a list of YouTube‘s top-earning stars, taking into account their video advertising profits, merchandise deals and other sources of revenue. From controversial brothers to a toy-loving 7-year-old boy, here is the list of highest-paid YouTubers, according to Forbes.
Also Read: 2017! THE TOP 10 MOST WATCHED ADS ON YOUTUBE
YouTube’s impact on the realm of pop culture can’t be ignored – the platform’s top stars become the world’s premiere influencers, coveted for their ability to reach tens of millions of followers on a daily basis.
As influencers become more valuable, many popular YouTubers have been able to turn their personal brands into million-dollar businesses. While the formula for YouTube success varies between channels, the most successful YouTubers have been able to find new sources of income beyond the ad revenue on their videos. For some, that means personal clothing lines and TV appearances, while others have capitalized on their success with sold-out live tours and custom toy brands. Whether it’s anti-semitism, suicide, rap videos or drag queens, there’s one similarity among these YouTubers: they’re filthy rich.
YouTube can be great. It offers unprecedented access to information, democratises learning and archives important human documents – from WWI footage to lions hunting in the wild. This years’ top earners list also shows that YouTube is a ridiculous place where people go to watch other people play video games, put on makeup, review toys, and… do whatever it is that Jake Paul does.
While those on the list made their name – and the majority of their money – on YouTube, they have become global superstars with merchandise, clothing lines, brand partnerships and more fans than Hollywood A-listers.
Here’s the list of the highest-paid YouTubers of 2018 (in Australian dollars) according to Forbes, who compiled data from June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018:
10. Logan Paul – $14.5 million
Logan Paul was pulled from a special YouTube project and lost elite status in the platform’s Google Preferred ads program, accessible only to top creators, after posting a controversial video earlier this year. Paul filmed himself in a Japanese forest near what appeared to be a body hanging from a tree. YouTube said the images violated its policies and suspended him.
Paul’s account was marked with a “strike,” which lasts for three months and can mean a loss of ad revenue from videos and from links to crowdfunding and merchandising websites. The now-23-year-old apologized for posting the insensitive content. Despite the turmoil, he ended up as YouTube’s 10th highest earner of 2018. He was tied for fourth place last year.
9. PewDiePie – $15.5 million
Despite criticism over making several anti-Semitic and racist videos in 2017, PewDiePie still made the list of YouTube’s top earners in 2018. He dropped a few notches from last year, when he ranked No. 6.
In February 2017, Disney and YouTube dropped the 27-year-old Swedish content creator, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, after he posted a video of him laughing while two men held up a sign that said “death to all Jews.” Later that year, he came under fire again and apologized for using the n-word during a live-stream.
But recent scandals accusing the video game commenter of racism and anti-Semitism have led to a slight decline in sponsorships. Still, like Logan Paul, PewDiePie managed to increase his overall earnings by about $3.5 million between June 2017 and June 2018.
In 2018 he apologized for making fun of Demi Lovato’s hospitalization. The YouTuber posted a meme that showed the “Sober” singer asking her mother for money to buy a burger, then turning around to buy heroin instead. He deleted the meme two days after Lovato was hospitalized for an apparent overdose.
PewDiePie still has the most subscribers of any single account on YouTube with more than 73 million, but will likely be overtaken by Bollywood YouTube channel T-Series in early 2019.
8. Jacksepticeye – $16 million
Irish video game streamer Sean “JackSepticEye” McLoughlin- whose real name is Sean McLaughlin, Forbes reports was one of the first YouTubers to be a part of PewDiePie’s Disney-sponsored Revelmode network, earning him a giant following. The 28-year-old has broken into the mainstream and currently has over 20 million YouTube subscribers.
While Disney eventually dumped Revelmode, McLoughlin was eventually signed to create original programming for Disney XD, a TV channel targeted at children and teens. McLoughlin also serves as a host and stage personality for a number of live events and tours in Europe and North America.
7. VanossGaming – $17 million
Another international gamer has made the list of YouTube’s highest paid stars, Forbes reports. Canadian Evan Fong – aka VanossGaming – plays mainstream games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed. The 26-year-old creates compilations of his video game commentary for his more than 23 million subscribers.
6. Markiplier — $17.5 million
Adding to the legion of gamers on the highest-paid list is American YouTube star Markiplier. The 29-year-old, whose real name is Mark Edward Fischbach, is known for his “Let’s Play” videos, in which he provides on-screen commentary to games as he plays them, Inside Edition reported. Markiplier appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2014 to show the world what he does.
With over 22 million subscribers, Mark Fischbach — a.k.a. Markiplier — isn’t anywhere near the most subscribed individual or channel on YouTube. Still, he is has earned more than the majority of YouTubers in 2018, thanks to North American and global tours, brand deals, and his new athleisure line, Cloak.
Most of the videos on Markiplier’s channel feature pre-recorded gameplay. However, he also broadcasts videos live for fun and once a month for charity.
His most popular video, a Five Nights at Freddy’s “let’s play,” has been viewed over 71 million times.
5. Jeffree Star – $18 million
Star first gained fame on MySpace and joined YouTube in 2006, sharing homemade music videos and makeup tutorials. The 33-year-old has since has become a makeup mogul and launched Jeffree Star cosmetics, which sells $100 million worth of products annually, Forbes reports.
Once known as the most-followed person on MySpace, Jeffree Star has made a wildly successful transition to YouTube since 2014.
Star launched his channel alongside his makeup brand, Jefree Star Cosmetics, uploading a mix of beauty tips, tutorials, and personal vlogs.
Star has earned more than 11 million subscribers with about 300 videos, a departure from the daily schedule of uploads that most top YouTubers follow.
4. DanTDM – $18.5 million
Daniel Middelton was last year’s top-earner on YouTube, Forbes reports. The British gamer not only plays on-camera for his more than 20 million subscribers, but he also makes money on his tour and merchandise line, according to Forbes.
Austrailian video game streamer Daniel “DanTDM” Middleton was last year’s highest-paid YouTuber with $16.5 million in earnings.
Middleton’s earnings skyrocketed thanks to a world tour that included four sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House and a thriving personal apparel brand.
Middleton built his massive audience streaming “Minecraft” and recently had a role in Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” as eBoy.
3. Dude Perfect – $20 Million
Clocking in at over 36 million subscribers, the five-man sports crew known as Dude Perfect specializes in intricate trick shots, and made $20 million doing so, Forbes reports. Their “ping pong trick shots” and “real-life trick shots,” in which they turn everyday activities into complex maneuvers, are among their most popular videos.
2. Jake Paul – $21.5 million
The younger brother of controversial YouTuber Logan Paul, this 21-year-old is also on the list of top social media influencers. Jake Paul became popular for his role as Dirk on the Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark.” He is also well-known for his YouTube channel, which has over 17 million subscribers.
A large portion of his income comes from selling merchandise — not an uncommon practice for popular individuals and self-made brands on YouTube.
His older brother, Logan Paul, also made the top 10 highest YouTube earners of 2018, earning an estimated 14.5 million.
In August, more than 800,000 people shelled out $10 each to a watch a pay-per-view boxing match on YouTube in which Paul went head-to-head with fellow YouTuber KSI, CBS Sports reports. Neither star is a professional boxer.
Jake’s most popular video, a music video for his hit song “It’s Everyday Bro,” has been viewed over 200 million times.
1. Ryan ToysReview – $22 million
The No. 1 earner on YouTube this year is not your average millionaire — far from it. He’s a 7-year-old boy named Ryan who reviews toys for other kids.
Last year, it was reported Ryan made $11 million from his YouTube channel, coming in at number 8 on Forbes’ 2017 list, but the toy critic is moving on up. His YouTube channel has attracted a huge following of parents and children who watch Ryan test out new toys and share his thoughts on them.
Ryan, whose last name has not been made public, first started reviewing toys in 2015 when he was just 4 years old. On his channel, Ryan’s parents write: “He loves Cars, Trains, Thomas and friends, Lego, Superheroes, Disney toys, open surprise eggs, play doh, Pixar Disney cars, Disney Planes, monster trucks, minions, playtime at the fun, family fun adventure and so much more!”
Ryan’s family says the child star was inspired by watching other kids and programs on YouTube and wanted to join the fun.
His most-watch video to date featured huge Easter eggs and a bouncy house, and has amassed over 1.6 billion views. His YouTube channel has over 25 billion views in total and 17 million subscribers. Forbes reports he now has his own line of collectibles selling at Walmart.
The channel’s most popular video has accumulated over 1 billion (yes, that’s billion with nine zeros) total views since its publication date in April 2016.