Readers, the following 12 people made insane money by posting videos on their YouTube channels. INSANE money. The 10 channels represented by the 12 highest-earning YouTube stars of the year brought in $70.5 million. That's a 23% increase from last year. Like it or not, YouTube stars are here to stay. The names may change, the rankings may change but whether they are a prankster, a gamer, a rapper, a nerd, or an LBGT activist, these creative individuals have carved out a niche for themselves and the audience and big dollars follow. How big? All of these YouTube stars made over $5 million dollars over the past year. It's time to put on our thinking caps people, there's big money out there…
These are the Highest Earning YouTube Stars:
#9. Colleen Ballinger – $5 million
Colleen Ballinger's quirky alter ego Miranda Sings has brought her big time exposure. She recently did a standup tour—Self-Help—and has scored a series deal with Netflix.
#9. Rhett and Link – $5 million
This goofy pair host a satirical morning show called Good Mythical Morning. They nab big time guests such as Amy Schumer and Daniel Radcliffe.
#7. German Garmendia – $5.5 million
At 26, this Chilean comic is the youngest on this list. He is Latin America's biggest YouTube star with 48 million subscribers across three channels.
#7. Markiplier – $5.5 million
This gamer, real name Mark Fischbach, burst onto the YouTube scene a little more than a year ago. In that time he has amassed 15 million subscribers and a hefty paycheck.
#5. Tyler Oakley – $6 million
Tyler Oakley is an LGBT activist and author. His 2015 book Binge was a best seller that got him the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, with whom he signed a production deal.
#5. Rosanna Pansino – $6 million
Rosanna Pansino has hit upon a unique audience with her YouTube show Nerdy Nummies. The baking show for geeks has featured delectable desserts like molecular macaroons and a Death Star cake.
#4. Smosh – $7 million
Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox are the grandfathers of YouTube stars. They started their Smosh comedy channel in 2005. They now oversee seven channels with big corporate (ie: big money) sponsors.
#3. Lily Singh – $7.5 million
This Canadian rapper-dancer-comedian makes light of her Punjabi heritage on her channel. It has paid off. Lily Singh's worldwide Trip to Unicorn Island stand-up tour was a big hit.
#2. Roman Atwood – $8 million
Roman Atwood is the Johnny Knoxville of YouTube. His pranks are attracting lots of subscribers and big name sponsors that have driven his income up 70% over the past year.
#1. PewDiePie – $15 million
Surely the apocalypse is nigh when a guy who goes by PewDiePie makes $15 million on YouTube. HA! In all seriousness, the Swedish comedian whose real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg has found the niche of all niches. He plays games while offering very colorful commentary. The 27-year-old's Let's Play vlog has the most subscribers of any YouTube content creator and his PewDiePie channel has more than 13 billion total views. Bow down; PewDiePie has it all figured out, folks!