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Top 10 Highest Paid YouTube Stars for 2015

Updated on June 17, 2016
Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) - the no.1 "YouTuber" in the world - worth an estimated $12 million
Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) - the no.1 "YouTuber" in the world - worth an estimated $12 million | Source

YouTube Has Changed Things!

YouTube: Once a place for movie trailers, music videos and terrible home videos. Not anymore! Now, YouTube has come alive with what feels like almost professional YouTube stars (aka "YouTubers"), who upload videos (content) to their respective channels that provides entertainment for free on the internet.

YouTube Stars Reel in the Audience for YouTube: Not to say that movie trailers and music videos do not have their appeal for the website, but it is through the YouTube stars, some of which have millions of subscribers and a collective amount of more than a billion views on their videos that truly makes YouTube the top video-streaming site on the web.

YouTube Stars are the Reason YouTube is Still Alive: It is said that every website will have a lifetime expectancy of about 10 years on the internet before they peak and begin to deteriorate, but YouTube has surpassed this point and they are now stronger and more successful than ever.

A reason, some would put down to the YouTube stars who now front the YouTube site, giving their personalities the ultimate challenge, in which to keep new audiences flooding onto the site for regular video viewing. Something, each of the top-earning YouTube stars for 2015 have shown to have the ability to do.

Home-Video-Making Has Become One of the Worlds Most Simplest Forms of Entertainment to Make the Best Millions: Home-video-making was once a simple form of a way to remember important times in life, like the birth of a new-born child, or a child's first birthday or Christmas, but now it is the way that YouTube stars entertain millions, and in return make millions. Oh, how times have changed!

Their Niche is Their Weapon: YouTube stars each have their own niche, and this niche is their style of video content which makes their channel unique to the site. Attracting a unique audience to their channel who are interested in their video content.

For instance, a few style of video contents includes video-game walkthroughs, comedy-shorts, make-up tutorials, vlogs (video blogs), etc. The list could go on forever, but the point is that each of the YouTube stars which have managed to dominate a slice of YouTube for their own taking has a unique style of video content which keeps their audiences coming back for more.

Time to See the Highest Ranking YouTube Earners for 2015

The first and highest earner for the YouTube stars in 2015 is also the richest among the YouTube community, boasting a sizeable net worth of $12 million, an amount which is only on the increase given the star's growing reputation in the online entertainment business.

Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) - swedish-born, top earning YouTube star for 2015. A star whose channel boasts billions of views, tens of millions of subscribers, and a line-up of video content which focuses predominantly on video-game walkthroughs.
Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) - swedish-born, top earning YouTube star for 2015. A star whose channel boasts billions of views, tens of millions of subscribers, and a line-up of video content which focuses predominantly on video-game walkthroughs.

No.1 - PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) - $12 Million

Name: Felix Kjellberg

Channel Name: PewDiePie

2015 Earnings: $12 Million

Felix Kjellberg (but, better known by his YouTube channel name, PewDiePie) is a Swedish-born YouTube star who earned a whopping $12 million in 2015, thanks to his loyal fan-following and his unbelievably large subscriber following which stands at more than 45 million.

The source of PewDiePie's earnings for 2015 were from his sponsors, as PewDiePie is paid a handsome fee for all of the brands that he promotes in his videos, including the products he uses, talks about and generally gives his audience a reason to buy.

But, it is the ad-revenue that he earns from the ads shown on his videos that will make up for the majority of his earnings, and the more subscribers and viewers each of his videos get, the more that he will make per-thousand views that his video-content receives.

No-ones audience has grown quite like PewDiePie, nor has anyone shown quite as much ability to dominate a site without so much as a hint of competition that is closing in on them. PewDiePie is YouTube's brightest channel owner, and their largest viewership bringer, and with 45 million subscribers, some would say that YouTube themselves should be paying a separate pay-load to the individual for his ability to keep audiences flooding back onto the site.

Smosh (Ian & Anthony) - The most popular comedy duo YouTube stars whose videos are primarily comedy-shorts have earned themselves $8.5 million in 2015. Not bad for the long-time running "YouTubers" who are relentless in their uploading.
Smosh (Ian & Anthony) - The most popular comedy duo YouTube stars whose videos are primarily comedy-shorts have earned themselves $8.5 million in 2015. Not bad for the long-time running "YouTubers" who are relentless in their uploading. | Source

No.2 - Smosh - $8.5 Million

Name/s: Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla

Channel Name: Smosh

2015 Earnings: $8.5 Million

Smosh is the channel name for the comedy-duo, Ian and Anthony, who make comedy-shorts as the niche for their YouTube content, something which has made them the no.2 top-subscribed YouTube channel on the site.

Smosh has more than 22 million subscribers, less than half the amount of their no.1 earning contender for this list, but still an unthinkable amount of fans for their channel.

Thanks to a healthy viewership and loyal fanbase, Smosh has managed to snag some good sponsors, securing their ability to earn good money for their video content, which ultimately, earnings-wise, is judged by the overall amount of viewers that they have received.


The Fine Brothers (Benny & Rafi) - Another comedy-pair on YouTube, most famous for their reaction videos, have earned a most generous estimated $8.5 million in 2015, putting them in line with Smosh (earnings-wise).
The Fine Brothers (Benny & Rafi) - Another comedy-pair on YouTube, most famous for their reaction videos, have earned a most generous estimated $8.5 million in 2015, putting them in line with Smosh (earnings-wise). | Source

No.3 - The Fine Brothers - $8.5 Million

Name/s: Benny and Rafi Fine

Channel Name: The Fine Brothers

2015 Earnings: $8.5 Million

The Fine Brothers are a comedy pair whose videos predominately focus on reaction videos, with teen reactions, YouTubers reactions, kids reactions, elders reactions and adults reactions to different videos on the internet. The point being that it is funny to see the at times unusual reactions that these individuals have to the videos that they are forced to watch.

The Fine Brothers also do comedy sketches, and all of this video content combined has enabled them a healthy reoccurring audience which has made them millions in 2015.

Linsey Stirling - people might remember Lindsey back when she was on the British TV show, Britain's Got Talent, however, since she has become famous for her YouTube content, playing music with her violin.
Linsey Stirling - people might remember Lindsey back when she was on the British TV show, Britain's Got Talent, however, since she has become famous for her YouTube content, playing music with her violin. | Source

No.4 - Lindsey Stirling - $6 Million

Name: Lindsey Stirling

Channel Name: Lindsey Stirling

2015 Earnings: $6 Million

Lindsey Stirling is a musician, playing the violin and has created numerous videos on her YouTube channel which focuses on music, some she has written and some she has not. These videos have collated so many views that in 2015 she has made a total of $6 million.

Lindsey, like all YouTube stars makes the majority of her earnings from ads which are shown on each of her videos, giving her a higher stake of earnings for the more viewers that her channels videos receives.

Rhett & Link - yet, another comedy duo, best known for their outrageously funny music videos and comedy sketches. A pair, having earned a respectable $4.5 million in 2015.
Rhett & Link - yet, another comedy duo, best known for their outrageously funny music videos and comedy sketches. A pair, having earned a respectable $4.5 million in 2015. | Source

No.5 - Rhett & Link - $4.5 Million

Name/s: Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III

Channel Name: Rhett & Link

2015 Earnings: $4.5 Million

Rhett and Link are another comedy duo on YouTube, a pair that stand out thanks to their funny music videos which have probably built-up the most views per-video than that of their comedy sketches, which are also wildly popular on the video-streaming site.

Combining both of their witty personalities, the pair have become a couple of the most popular and widely recognised YouTube stars in the world. Respected for their comedy, editorial style and connection with other YouTube stars from around the world.

KSI - Olajide Olatunji - A YouTube star who has managed to make an estimated $4.5 million in 2015, thanks to his popular video content which is mainly focused around funny challenges.
KSI - Olajide Olatunji - A YouTube star who has managed to make an estimated $4.5 million in 2015, thanks to his popular video content which is mainly focused around funny challenges.

No.6 - KSI - $4.5 Million

Name: Olajide Olatunji

Channel Name: KSI

2015 Earnings: $4.5 Million

KSI is an individual online entertainer, uploading videos to multiple channels on YouTube, his main one which focuses on funny challenge videos, and others where he plays video-games and sets challenges for himself to complete.

Each of his channels have built up a large number of subscribers, and the viewership for his videos has increased so much so that in 2015 he has made a staggeringly appealing $4.5 million. Not bad for an online-video-entertainer.

Michelle Phan - the queen of make-up tutorials on YouTube, and the highest earner in this department where YouTube is concerned, having earned $3 million in 2015.
Michelle Phan - the queen of make-up tutorials on YouTube, and the highest earner in this department where YouTube is concerned, having earned $3 million in 2015.

No.7 - Michelle Phan - $3 Million

Name: Michelle Phan

Channel Name: Michelle Phan

2015 Earnings: $3 Million

Michelle Phan is YouTube's top make-up tutorial star, having made an estimated $3 million in 2015.

Michelle has used her likeable, friendly personality to appeal to an audience of female followers who are seeking advice on how to apply their make-up, a niche line-up of video uploads that has enabled her to make millions in a single calendar year.

The key, like Michelle and all of the stars on this list have proven, is to dominate your video content niche, and this is something that Michelle has done so well.

Lilly Singh (Superwoman) - A YouTube star best known for making funny comedy sketches and having a fun, slightly crazed personality. Lilly has made a respectable $2.5 million in 2015.
Lilly Singh (Superwoman) - A YouTube star best known for making funny comedy sketches and having a fun, slightly crazed personality. Lilly has made a respectable $2.5 million in 2015.

No.8 - Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman) - $2.5 Million

Name: Lilly Singh

Channel Name: Superwoman

2015 Earnings: $2.5 Million

Lilly Singh is a fun personality who uploads comedy sketch videos that make fun a lot of the time of her own religion, but they are witty, short and appeal to her fans comedy tastes.

Lilly has made a name for herself on YouTube, and has the estimated earnings of $2.5 million in 2015 to prove it.

Roman Atwood - A YouTube vlogger, the blogging of the video-creation world, has made from his popular videos content, $2.5 million in 2015.
Roman Atwood - A YouTube vlogger, the blogging of the video-creation world, has made from his popular videos content, $2.5 million in 2015. | Source

No.9 - Roman Atwood - $2.5 Million

Name: Roman Atwood

Channel Name: Roman Atwood

2015 Earnings: $2.5 Million

Roman Atwood is the highest earning YouTube vlogger in 2015, having earned $2.5 that year. His vlog (video-blog) focuses on prank videos, something which has made him vastly popular on YouTube.

Rosanna Pansino - A YouTube star (and apologies, couldn't find an image of the star) that has become internet famous through her how-to-cook videos. These videos have become so popular that she has made a staggeringly respectful $2.5 million in 2015.
Rosanna Pansino - A YouTube star (and apologies, couldn't find an image of the star) that has become internet famous through her how-to-cook videos. These videos have become so popular that she has made a staggeringly respectful $2.5 million in 2015.

No.10 - Rosanna Pansino - $2.5 Million

Name: Rosanna Pansino

Channel Name: Rossana Pansino

2015 Earnings: $2.5 Million

Rosanna Pansino is another YouTube star with a difference, uploading how-to-cook videos, her niche which she has dominated with her fun personality and fun cooking creations. Something that anyone with a taste for cooking could surely appreciate and find a reason to subscribe, making it rather understandable that Rosanna made a fair (estimated) $2.5 million in 2015.

List Sum-Up!

YouTube Star Channel Name
Number of YouTube Channel Stars
2015 Earnings (Pre-Tax)
PewDiePie
1
$12 Million
Smosh
2
$8.5 Million
The Fine Brothers
2
$8.5 Million
Lindsey Stirling
1
$6 Million
Rhett & Link
2
$4.5 Million
KSI
1
$4.5 Million
Michelle Phan
1
$3 Million
Lilly Singh
1
$2.5 Million
Roman Atwood
1
$2.5 Million
Rosanna Pansino
1
$2.5 Million
 
 
Combined Earnings: $54.5 Million

Summary for the Top Earning YouTube stars of 2015

From the top earning YouTube stars of 2015 it has shown that there is a variety of video creations that are entertaining the wider audiences, from the likes of video-game walkthroughs created by PewDiePie, comedy sketches and shorts created by Smosh, vlogs (video blogs), make-up tutorials, how-to-cook tutorials, and many others not included from the stars' content on this list.

Popularity it seems on YouTube is less about the video content, and more-so about the personality of the individuals presenting the videos themselves, as just like movies, what would our favourite movie genres be without our favourite actors starring in those movies? Not as good, to say the least.

YouTube has adapted its model of operations from the looks of things, as it has now become the YouTube stars who are the highlight for the site itself. Giving the strong feeling that the YouTube stars have become more influential over the survival of the site than ever before.

At the end of the day, the YouTube stars attract millions of viewers, a fact that advertisers love and are willing to buy into, as it is a perfect place for them to reach out to their buyers in a way that will likely work.

This, in turn, gives YouTube higher revenue, as a much larger audience comes through their website without much of a push from advertising themselves, as each respective YouTube star will have advertisement channels running through social media, word-of-mouth (from fans) and their YouTube channels videos themselves.

Any thoughts, drop them below.

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    • Craig Easom profile image
      Author

      Dreammore 17 months ago from British Empire

      Hey newbizmau,

      Thanks for the positive comment, and good look with starting on YouTube. You never know, you might be on this list some day.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 17 months ago from Mobile, AL

      Wow I believe I only recognize one of them. Congratulations to them. Gives me a lot to think about as I have pondered creating my own Youtube account.