Remember all those times you told your kids to stop playing video games and study if they wanted to have a good paying job? Now, they can reply with just one word: PewDiePie (the middle part is pronounced like the letter “d”).
If you don’t know, that’s the nom-de-Internet of the 25-year-old Norwegian Felix Kjellberg. Last year, he made an estimated $12 million by making videos of himself playing video games, along with some profanity-laced commentary, and posting them on YouTube.
Forbes Magazine ranked him as the top earner on YouTube in 2015, a platform that is now spawning millennial millionaires. The money, for most, comes largely from advertising, both traditional commercials and some product placement deals.
PewDiePie has nearly 40 million followers, and his videos have more than 10 billion views combined. His channel is in no way safe for work.
Actually, many of the channels listed here are NSFW. You’ve been warned.
Second on the list is a tie: Smosh, a pair of childhood friends from California who perform comedy routines, brought in $8.5 million. Raking in the same amount are the Fine Brothers who developed a series of reaction videos. For example, they might show today’s teenagers an episode of the 1990s series “Saved by the Bell” or senior citizens the trailer for the new Batman vs. Superman movie, and film these people’s reactions to those videos.
Fourth is Lindsey Stirling. She plays the violin, pretty well really, and she dances, also pretty well. Last year, she made $6 million doing it, so there’s hope for everyone out there forcing their children to take lessons playing an instrument.
Rounding out the top five is another tie. Rhett and Link, a comedy duo, made $4.5 million. According to Forbes, they make almost half of their money through sponsored content. Making the same amount, we have another man who got a start filming himself playing video games, KSI, and has parlayed his YouTube fame into a music career.
In the rest of the top 10, Michelle Phan made $3 million teaching girls to put on makeup to look like celebrities, or sometimes zombies, and has expanded into something of a lifestyle consultant.
Lilly Singh, a comedian who goes by Superwoman, made $2.5 million. Roman Atwood also made $2.5 million making videos where he pranks people. And one more $2.5 million-maker, Rosanna Pansino, who bakes and sometimes plays video games.
Check out the list with more details at Forbes.
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