YouTube was launched in 2005. In those first few years it was primarily a way to watch 1 minute videos of skateboard accidents and stolen Daily Show clips. In the last few years, YouTube has become a factory for creating multi-millionaire internet mega stars – many of whom are not legally old enough to buy or consume an alcoholic beverage.
The biggest YouTube celebrities have become masters at attracting an audience to monetize their sponsored videos and advertising. Along the way, these internet stars make a name for themselves offline too, often publishing books, or getting roles in television shows or deals from Netflix, Disney, or YouTube Red. Brand partnerships and clothing lines have also become a part of the biggest YouTube personalities' revenue stream.
Ask any kid or tween or 20 something and they can tell you who the biggest YouTube stars are. Anyone over 30 has probably asked "Am I supposed to know who Jake Paul is?"
But what everyone may not fully comprehend is just how rich their favorite YouTubers are. Of the top 20 richest YouTube stars, the lowest-paid is a former stripper with a net worth of $4 million. The highest is a makeup mogul, not named Kylie, who has an astounding net worth of $200 million.
Let's take a look at the 20 richest YouTube Stars in the world right now.
#20. Trisha Paytas net worth: $4 million
Trisha Paytas worked as a stripper before finding fame on YouTube. Paytas has appeared in several music videos including for artists like Amy Winehouse and Eminem. She created her YouTube channel blindsundoll4mj in 2006. Her YouTube channel was originally dedicated to Quentin Tarantino but changed its focus to fashion, lifestyle, and relationship advice. In 2006 she was a correspondent for the television series The Greg Behrendt Show. She started a second channel in 2014, and continues to act, star in reality shows, and sing. She competed on the reality series Celebrity Big Brother in 2017. She has released the albums Fat Chicks, Superficial Bitch, Under the Covers, Daddy Issues, Showtime, Warrior, and Chicken Fingers and Lipo.
#19. Liza Koshy net worth: $6 million
Liza Koshy dropped out of college at the University of Houston in 2015 to move to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time career in entertainment. Liza started to post short comedic videos on Vine in 2013 under the pseudonym Lizzza. By the time Vine shut down in 2017, she had seven million followers. She started posting on YouTube in 2016. She even interviewed President Barack Obama on her YouTube channel in 2016 before the election, to encourage young people to register and vote. Koshy stopped adding new videos to her YouTube account in early 2018 after she decided to try acting full time, but resumed posting in 2019. She has one of the fastest-growing YouTube channels. Koshy is adored by her followers for her impeccable comedic timing, facial expressions, dance moves, and commitment to the comedic moment, as well as the high-quality camera work and editing in her videos. She also has over 18 million Instagram followers as of March 2020. Koshy was named by Time magazine in 2019 on their list of 25 Most Influential People on the Internet. She was nominated for a Streamy Award for Audience Choice Entertainer of the Year in 2016 a People's Choice Award for Favorite Social Media Star in 2017.
#18. Jenna Marbles net worth: $8 million
Jenna Marbles launched her YouTube channel in 2010. The first video she posted is entitled "Charles Franklin Marbles is a Sad Sad Man." She also began working for Barstool Sports that same year. She wrote for the site's female-targeted branch, StoolLaLa, for one year, and left the company in 2011. Marbles gained national attention in 2010 when she posted a YouTube video entitled, "How to Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking." The video became a hit and received over 5.3 million views in its first week. Her 2011 video "How to Avoid Talking to People You Don't Want To Talk To" was featured in The New York Times and on ABC News. Marbles has received a number of awards nominations for her work, and in 2014 she won the Viral Superstar accolade at the Young Hollywood Awards. She also won a Streamy Award in the YouTube Ensemble category in 2017. In 2018, she was nominated for the Creator of the Decade at the Shorty Awards. In addition to her comedy and blogging ventures, Marbles produced a brand of dog toys called Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles, inspired by her own dogs. She also created and sold a line of items with some of her most memorable quotes emblazoned on them.
In 2015, Madame Tussauds New York City unveiled a wax figure of Marbles posing for a selfie—making her the very first social media star to be commemorated at the museum.
#17. Germán Garmendia net worth: $9 million
Germán Garmendia is a Chilean YouTube personality, musician, comedian, singer, and writer. He earned fame and fortune thanks to his YouTube channels HolaSoyGerman and JuegaGerman. Garmendia became the first YouTuber to earn two Diamond Play Buttons for 10 million subscribers on each of his channels. His book #Chupaelperro was released in 2016 in Spain and Latin America. He voiced the role of Julian on the Spanish version of the movie Ice Age: Collision Course.
#16. Shane Dawson net worth: $12 million
Shane Dawson is a writer, comedian, musician, and director who has earned a high level of notoriety for his documentary-style exposé and conspiracy videos on YouTube. Dawson is one of the highest-earning YouTubers in the world. In 2019 he launched a line of cosmetics with makeup tycoon Jeffree Star. Shane began making videos while he was in high school as part of school projects. He launched his own YouTube channel, called ShaneDawsonTV in 2008. Dawson began uploading comedic videos to the channel, producing a new one each week. He also launched two other channels, one of which features his daily vlog, which he records on his phone. Dawson's docu-series about Jeffree Star, TanaCon, and Jake Paul were especially popular. The first part of his Jake Paul series was viewed 10 million times in under 7 hours. He began producing "Conspiracy Series with Shane Dawson" in 2015. They have become among his most-viewed and discussed videos. He has released two New York Times best-selling books, "I Hate Myself" and "It Gets Worse." He won the People's Choice Award for "The Social Star of 2018."
After the success of their YouTube videos, Jeffree and Shane collaborated in 2019 to create a cosmetics collection. The "Conspiracy" collection includes an eye-shadow palette and six liquid lipstick colors. In an October 2019 YouTube video, Jeffree claimed that if the sell-out of the eye-shadow, they would earn $35 million, with $10 million going to Shane. With re-orders, the numbers would eventually grow even higher. Shane revealed that if he does earn $10 million from the line, it will be more than he's ever earned off his entire YouTube career.
#15. Alistair Aiken aka Ali-A net worth: $14 million
Ali-A is another YouTuber who has made his millions playing video games while filming himself. His videos featuring running commentary while playing Call of Duty and other games.
#14. Roman Atwood net worth: $14.5 million
Roman is known for his YouTube channel and his hidden camera public prank videos. He started making videos for his vlog channel in 2013. He made his directorial debut with the 2016 feature film Natural Born Pranksters. Atwood became the first YouTuber to vlog with a 360-degree camera that works off various devices. He is also involved in a reality prank show featuring Howie and Alex Mandel. Atwood produced a DVD series called The Nerd Herd that was sold at the Warped Tour in 2006. Some of his most famous pranks include an insane toilet paper prank, plastic ball prank, anniversary prank, killing my kid prank, pee prank on cops, and Ferrari pee prank. He owns an online store and has his own clothing line called Smile More. Roman is one of the highest-paid personalities on YouTube.
#13. Lilly Singh net worth: $15 million
Lilly Singh is best known for her YouTube channel IISuperwomanII and for hosting the NBC late-night talk show "A Little Late with Lilly Singh." She started her channel in 2010. Singh starred in the 2014 film Dr. Cabbie and was nominated for a Shorty Award and Streamy Award in 2014. She has collaborated with actors such as Seth Rogen and James Franco and other YouTube personalities such as Ryan Higa, Yousef Erakat, Shane Dawson, Miranda Sings, Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, Joey Graceffa, Connor Franta, Kingsley, and Marcus Butler. She has been featured in the song "Hipshaker" and performed the rap part of the song "Mauj Ki Malharein." Her song "#LEH" was released in 2014 as a collaboration with Humble The Poet.
#13. (tie) KSI net worth: $15 million
Also known as KSIOlajidebt, KSI is a British YouTube gamer, rapper and boxer. He was born Olajide William "JJ" Olatunji in Watford, Hertfordshire, England in June 1993. As a rapper he released the single "Lamborghini" (featuring P Money) in 2015. The song reached #7 on the UK R&B chart and #30 in the UK. In August 2018 KSI boxed Logan Paul. The two despise each other. An impressive 2.25 million tuned into the match live. They each earned around $2 million from the fight. They made $3 million a piece from the re-match in 2019.
#12. Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal net worth: $16 million each
Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal are the OG YouTube stars. They founded the YouTube partnership Rhett and Link and host a number of YouTube shows, most notably Good Mythical Morning. Rhett and Link met on the first day of first grade in North Carolina. Not long after graduating from college, Rhett and Link quit their jobs as engineers to focus on their YouTube channel. Today, this comedy duo host the popular daily show Good Mythical Morning, on which they eat things like Cheetos flavored Pop-Tarts. They have four channels, a podcast, and two books. Rhett and Link joined YouTube on September 18, 2008. As of January 2020, their channel Good Mythical Morning has over 6 billion views and more than 16 million subscribers. They describe their channel: "Welcome to Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link! Tune in every Monday-Friday to watch us eat truly unbelievable things, explore surprising new products and trends, compete in original games with celebrity guests, implement serious experiments in hilarious ways, and more." After being featured on YouTube's homepage and the subsequent release of "The Facebook Song" (their most viewed video for several years), Rhett & Link established a presence on the web. In September 2012 Rhett & Link uploaded a video of them singing "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie, recording over 11 hours of footage starting at 7:25 pm ET on the Santa Monica Pier and ending the all-night recording at 6:30 am on Mt. Wilson. On February 22, 2019, it was revealed that Rhett and Link had acquired the Smosh brand (Smosh, Smosh Games, Smosh Pit & ElSmosh) after the channel's former parent company, Defy Media, had gone into liquidation. Ian Hecox, the co-founder of Smosh, explained that under the Mythical Entertainment banner, the channel would have full creative freedom and launch its own podcast, known as the SmoshCast.
#11. Jake Paul net worth: $17 million
YouTube star Jake Paul may have started small with six-second Vine videos, but today he's a full-fledged internet sensation. When he was just starting out, Paul's first goal was to buy a home in Calabasas. He's accomplished that. A few years ago he paid nearly $7 million for a mansion in the Kardashians' hometown. Now that he has done that, the 23-year-old has set his sights on a bigger goal: Becoming the first social media billionaire. He's giving himself 10 years to reach that goal. He started his social media career in September 2013 by posting videos on the now-defunct Vine. By the time Vine went under, he had 5.3 million followers and two billion views. He was 16-years-old. In 2015, Paul was cast on the Disney Channel's show Bizaardvark. In January 2017, he was among a group of guests invited to the White House for an event about social media. As a stunt for his YouTube channel, he hid in a bathroom at the White House and snuck out at 3:30 am without being discovered by security.
#10. Logan Paul net worth: $19 million
Logan Paul is a YouTuber, boxer, internet personality, and actor who also has run the Impaulsive podcast since November 2018. Logan started making videos for YouTube when he was 10 years old using a channel he launched called Zoosh. In April 2014 a YouTube compilation video of his Vine work garnered more than four million views the first week it was posted. He soon had 4 million followers on Vine and was creating paid Vine videos for companies such as HBO, Pepsi, Ritz, and Virgin Mobile. After Vine was shuttered, he shifted focus fully to YouTube. In 2015 he was ranked as the 10th most influential figure on Vine, with his six-second videos earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue. By that October, his Facebook videos alone had more than 300 million views.
On December 31, 2017, Paul uploaded a video to his YouTube channel that he had filmed at Aokigahara at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. This area is commonly known as the suicide forest as it is a place many people have gone to commit suicide. Paul's video showed a dead body hanging from a tree. The video had 6.3 million views within 24 hours of being uploaded. Paul was accused by other members of the YouTube community of being insensitive and exploitative to suicide victims. Several petitions were posted on Change.org urging YouTube to delete Paul's channel. Paul removed the video from his YouTube channel and issued a written apology on Twitter on January 1, 2018. In the aftermath, Paul donated $1 million to suicide prevention agencies, a quarter of which is going to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
On February 9, 2018, YouTube suspended all advertising on Paul's channels due to his "pattern of behavior," referring to his participation in the Tide Pod challenge, removing a fish from his pond to "jokingly give it CPR," and tasering two dead rats. His revenue was temporarily stopped as a result. Two weeks later, YouTube restored ads on Logan's channel, however, his channel was still on a 90-day "probation period" during which time content from his channel was not eligible to be on YouTube's trending tab.
In January 2019, Paul remarked on his Impaulsive podcast, "What is it, male-only March? … We're gonna attempt to go gay for just one month." Paul received widespread criticism for implying that being homosexual is a choice. GLAAD responded to Paul's statement on Twitter, saying, "That's not how it works, Logan Paul."
As of this writing, Logan Paul has a net worth of $19 million.
#9. Tyler Blevins aka Ninja net worth: $20 million
Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, is best known for being a Twitch streamer but he also happens to have more than 23 million YouTube subscribers. At $5 a month per subscription, he regularly earns between $500,000 and $1 million per month playing video games. He is most popular for playing the game Fortnite. In March 2018 he played the game with rappers Drake and Travis Scott as well as professional football player Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster. That stream was watched live by millions of fans around the world and one of the most talked-about internet events in history. Ninja gained an additional 15,000 subscribers directly from that single event. Ninja started out playing the game Halo on Xbox and competed in tournaments, winning money. He was a member of the Halo team Four of a Kind and started at a Major League Gaming Event in 2009. At one time he was one of the top-ranked Halo: Reach players in the world and started earning at least $100 per day by streaming his gaming. On August 1, 2019, Ninja announced that he was leaving Twitch and switching to the Microsoft-owned platform Mixer. At the time of the announcement, Ninja had more than 14 million subscribers on Twitch. The move likely came with a very large Microsoft payout, though the numbers were not discussed.
Ninja's net worth in 2020 is $20 million (conveniently!)
#8. James Charles net worth: $22 million
James Charles, is an internet personality, makeup artist, and model. He is most known for his YouTube channel focused on makeup and beauty. In 2016 he was named the first male ambassador for CoverGirl. Charles is also openly gay. He launched his YouTube channel on December 1, 2015. At the 8th Streamy Awards in 2018, his channel won the Best Channel Award in the Beauty category. He is also popular on the social media platform Instagram. In his videos and posts, he refers to his fans as "sisters." Charles has been able to successfully translate his online popularity into several lucrative deals. In 2016 at the age of 17 he was named the first male brand ambassador for CoverGirl, where he worked alongside pop star Katy Perry. He is also the face of the brand So Lashy! By BlastPro Mascara. In 2018, Charles released an eyeshadow palette in collaboration with Morphe Cosmetics. The "Morphe x James Charles" palette has 39 shades and retails for $39. At its initial drop on November 14, 2018, the palette sold out fully in Europe in less than 6 minutes. In January 2019 Morphe Cosmetics invited him to the company's second UK store opening in Birmingham, England. Over 7000 fans showed up to the opening to see him, disrupting traffic and bringing the city center to a standstill.
As of this writing, James Charles has a net worth of $22 million.
#7. Evan Fong aka Vanoss Gaming net worth: $25 million
Evan Fong launched the VanossGaming YouTube channel. Like many of the other highest-paid YouTube stars, he posts comedic videos of him playing video games. Fong grew up in Toronto and was introduced to video games at a young age as his father was an avid gamer. He started with children's adventure and puzzle games. After high school, Fong enrolled in college as an economics major. He dropped out during his second year of college to focus full time on his YouTube channel. His parents were concerned at first, but Fong eventually convinced them that YouTube gamer was a viable career.
Fong created the VanossGaming YouTube channel on September 15, 2011. In early 2015, Fong began getting mainstream media attention as his YouTube channel approached 11 million subscribers and cracked the top 25 most subscribed channels on YouTube. By that time, Fong was considered one of the main figures in the growing video game commentary subculture.
#6. Mark Fischbach aka Markiplier net worth: $28 million
Markiplier is a YouTube personality from Honolulu. His specialties include Let's Play gameplay commentary videos which commonly feature survival horror and action video game titles. Markiplier is well known for his comedic gameplay commentary. He bought a camera with a tax refund to start his YouTube channel in 2012. He does voice work for the YouTube channel LORE and joined the board of Red Giant Entertainment in 2014. Markiplier also provided guest vocals for Super Smash Bros. As a philanthropist Markiplier has helped raise over $900,000. In 2018 he and fellow-YouTuber Jackspticeye launched a high-end athleisure brand for gamers called Cloak.
#5. Dude Perfect net worth: $30 million
Dude Perfect is a sports and comedy entertainment brand that consists of Coby and Cory Cotton, Cody Jones, Garrett Hilbert, and Tyler Toney. They are all former high school basketball players and college roommates at Texas A&M University. They are well known for their trick shots and also for their Stereotypes series which have averaged about 10 million views each. Dude Perfect has been featured on ESPN's E:60, First Take, Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, and SportsNation. They introduced a Panda mascot who appears at Texas A&M basketball games. The group has broken several Guinness World Records. Their television series The Dude Perfect Show started airing in 2016 on the CMT network. Dude Perfect has also had a series of Face-Off videos featured on the Whistle Sports Network YouTube channel.
#4. Ryan Kaji aka Ryan's World net worth: $32 million
Ryan Kaji is a YouTube personality who has a net worth of $32 million. Ryan Kaji is best known for starring on the YouTube channel Ryan's World, which was formerly known as Ryan ToysReview. The channel was started in 2015 and features Ryan and his mother, father, and his twin sisters. As of this writing the channel has more than 23 million subscribers and 34 billion total views. Ryan is one of the highest-paid YouTube personalities in the world.
Ryan Kaji releases a new video each day. His most popular video "Huge Eggs Surprise Toys Challenge" has more than 2 billion views, ranking it among the 40 most-viewed videos on YouTube.
Ryan has earned his family a net worth of $32 million.
#3. Daniel Middleton aka DanTDM net worth: $35 million
Daniel Middleton is an English gamer and internet personality who is best known for his YouTube channel DanTDM (formerly called The Diamond Minecart). He covers many video games with Minecraft being his main focus. Middleton started out with a Pokémon channel on YouTube before creating his main channel in 2012. In 2015 and 2016 he won Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for UK Favorite Tipster. Middleton has set Guinness World Records for "Most views for a dedicated Minecraft video channel," "Most goals scored in a game of Rocket League for a team of 2," and "Most goals scored in a game of Rocket League (team of three).
#2. Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie net worth: $40 million
PewDiePie is a Swedish video game commentator and internet celebrity who has a net worth of $40 million. His YouTube channel, PewDiePie, features his videos that show him playing various video games. At various points in recent years, the channel has been the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. His typical video shows him playing the game, commentating on what he sees and experiences, while also showing his reactions to what he is seeing on the screen. PewDiePie often refers to his fans as the 'Bro Army', made up of his 'Bros', and he typically performs a 'Brofist' at the end of each of his videos.
As of 2020, PewDiePie's net worth is $40 million.
#1. Jeffree Star net worth: $200 million
Jeffree Star is makeup artist (as well as a model, fashion designer, DJ, and singer-songwriter). In addition to being one of the highest-paid YouTube stars on the planet, he oversees a cosmetic empire called Jeffree Star Cosmetics that is the source of the majority of his fortune today. He is known for his striking hair color that is frequently hot pink, and many tattoos. Jeffree Star worked at several makeup counters in Los Angeles while booking side-gigs at weddings and fashion shoots. Over time he started making celebrity connections for his makeup skills. He also developed a following on social media, MySpace in particular, where he posted makeup tips and songs. He eventually developed one of the largest early MySpace followings with photos posted getting tens of thousands of comments.
As of this writing, Jeffree Star's net worth is $200 million.
Jeffree founded his eponymous cosmetics company in 2014 using his entire life savings earned from his music and makeup career up to that point. He would later say he was nearly bankrupt at the time and felt his music career was dead in the water when he launched the company. He was one of the early makeup personalities to use YouTube to promote his brand and himself. Jeffree's early YouTube uploads were still mostly related to his music, but he soon shifted to promoting Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Thanks to friendships with celebrities like Kat Von D, his following grew quickly.