YouTube Star PewDiePie Earned $12 Million Last Year

Pewdiepie Famechangers Youtube Star
Jeff Minton for Variety

Gaming’s crown prince PewDiePie is king of YouTube celebrities.

The video-game-playing bro, who’s birth name is Felix Kjellberg, is the world’s highest-paid YouTube star, having earned $12 million over the past year and thereby topping Forbes magazine’s first-ever ranking of the top-paid stars on the Google video platform.

The 25-year-old Swedish gamer has nearly 40 million YouTube subscribers and earns the bulk of his income from advertisements on his channel.

PewDiePie also topped Variety‘s list of Famechangers, the digital world’s 12 most influential stars.

The duos of Smosh — Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla — and the Fine Brothers — Benny and Rafi Fine — were runner-ups with $8.5 million. “Smosh” recently starred in the aptly titled film “Smosh: The Movie.”

Chanteuse Lindsey Stirling came in fourth with $6 million. The violinist also made our Famechangers list.

Comedians Rhett and Link — aka Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III — and video game commentator Olajide Olatunji — known as “KSI” — tied for fifth with $4.5 million.

Self-taught make-up artist Michelle Phan was seventh at $3 million.

Comedian Lilly Singh — called “Superwoman” — prankster Roman Atwood and chef Rosanna Pansino came in eighth with $2.5 million each.

Here’s the full list:

1. PewDiePie: $12 million
2. (Tie) Smosh and Fine Brothers: $8.5 million
4. Lindsey Stirling: $6 million
5. (Tie) Rhett & Link and KSI: $4.5 million
7. Michelle Phan: $3 million
8. (Tie) Lilly Singh, Roman Atwood and Rosanna Pansino: $2.5 million

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 52

Leave a Reply

52 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Brand says:

    yea i’m wit pew my bro need to quit hatin on this man if he mad 12 mill he must be doing something right

  2. Genocide says:

    Do any of you imbeciles know that this man went to college to study industrial economics and technology management which in any case requires nearly straight A’s in everything to get in for that stuff? He could be an average Joe like everyone else working in an office somewhere making an hourly wage and being paid at the end of the week but no, he decided he was going to risk everything and drop out of college to do what he LOVED most, put smiles on his viewers faces and if that’s such a damn crime to you, you can rot like the rest of this world, I’ve watched some of his videos where he reads the comments and stories of his fans on how he completely turned their life around, and it’s heart warming to know that one person can alone bring this much joy into people’s lives, and if he can make money from it, then good, he deserves it, because Pewds deserves to devote all of the time he possibly can to making his videos and doing what he enjoys, the only reason you hypocrites are mad is because you may not be doing what you love to do making money from it to do it full time, and that’s just the world for you, but it is no different than some sleepy network running a cheesy television show with 6 minute long commercial breaks to line their pockets, at leat when Pewds goes and takes money out of the bank he can have peace of mind knowing that all of the millions of people that support him love his content, so get over yourselves and be happy for him

  3. Wink Abernathy says:

    $12 million buckaroos per year for playing video games while making mildly amusing smart-aleck comments and saying the “F” word at a rate of about once for every dollar he makes (or it would seem so. Dude doesn’t seem to know any other adjectives or interjections). You just have to shake your head…

    • jsm says:

      This explains who all the iphone buyers are: a bunch of brain dead suckers burning data and productive time watching this idiot with a bad dye job spew f-bombs every 5 seconds.

  4. Jeremy Lim says:

    Yeah Poods, nothing to say much but, every single one of your fan are so proud of you mate
    .:D continue the the good work bro.

  5. No, he didn’t. He didn’t earn one cent. He never created a single piece of original content. Like so many Youtubers now, all he did was make videos about stuff that’s already popular. There are guys who stand in front of a camera, and make huge money, just talking about Gmae of Thornes every week. They aren’t privvy to any information that nobody has, and the ydon’t show clips from the show, just photos…yet somehow they manage to leech some profit out of the hard work of other people. It’s pathetic.

  6. Markus says:

    The world IS getting more and more feeble and most peoples sense of intellect is dictated by pop culture stupidity and bias. If most of the people subscribing or viewing these videos had any actual brains, they would easily see the need not to support these lazy youtubers.

  7. Schadenfreude says:

    Sounds like a lot of jealous, butthurt old school showbiz guys in this thread. I don’t play video games but it seems like this young guy is doing his thing and making money. Maybe you should adapt to the new generation.

    • Markus says:

      “Adapt to the new generation.” This generation IS making the world a very, VERY stupid place: go ahead and “adapt.” I’ll choose intellect and logic anytime over such adaptions. I choose not to subscribe nor view any of these punks stupidity. I am 20 btw.

  8. Falcon says:

    Poods work really hard to make his video a LAUGHTER. No money can be compared with this hard work

  9. Kawaii Potato says:

    Do you realize how hard it is to make videos? Each video takes at least 8 hours to edit. Most of these people (Including Pewds) put out two videos a day. Seven days a week. And its not like they can just do whatever the hell they want. Being a YouTuber is hard, its hard work and commitment to what they are doing that gets them there. Plus, you didn’t happen to mention how Pewds, and probably some others on this list, donate a lot of money to charity. Boom.

    • jsm says:

      Bullshit. These days it’ point-shoot-upload. Minimal to zero DIGITAL editing ‘cuz automatic software is so easy. Not much more than a smartphone needed. So stfu.

    • Haz says:

      ROFL 8 hours of work to make videos of himself playing video games and commenting while I work 40 hours a week making a positive change in the world making way less then 12 million. This is how the world is… this is sad..

  10. WHO CARES?! Really, why is this news? Tell me how much money you made this year? Look, he does what he does, he works hard (u gotta figure 2+ videos a day plus editing and im sure 100 other things plus advertising,probably,amounts to many hours a day)

  11. fail says:

    “The video-game-playing bro, who’s birth name is Felix Kjellberg, is the world’s highest-paid YouTube star, having earned $12 million over the past year and thereby topping Forbes magazine’s first-ever ranking of the top-paid stars on the Google video platform.”

    1) Excuse me. It’s whose, not who’s. If you use ‘who’s’ it would be “who is birth name is Felix Kjellberg.”

    2) Why do you guys care so much about PewDiePie and his earnings? It shouldn’t matter to you. And although everything is not about money, he donates to freakin charity. So why not write about that?

    3) PewDiePie works hard, yes, absolutely. But you guys make him look like he’s stupid – when he’s not. He does everything purely for entertainment and for the fans. He isn’t in this for the money. Felix is doing this because he loves it and is willing to spend all of his time playing games and constantly editing. It’s pretty tedious considering editing can take some time and the uploading time can take even longer. It is exhausting.

    4) STOP.

    Thank you.

    • Haz says:

      The problem is it takes almost no skill to do what he does. even rocket scientist and the worlds best physicists that’s are working to find ways for interstellar travel don’t make as much as he does. Something about this is so wrong in our world.

  12. tjcooper says:

    I don’t care about how much money he makes .

    His videos… I don’t get it . They are not clever, smart, witty, funny, etc . The same for lots of you tube music

    Its idiots making content for idiotis. They don’t appear to be well read because they never reference anything, its the most basic of lyrics or dialougue .

    I’m old and have higher standards .

    • Ellie says:

      Yes, because being old merits that your opinion is totally professional and much more valid than anyone else’s; if you honestly believe that, good for you, buddy boy. He obviously has a method of some kind, and just by reading the headline you can sure as hell tell it works for him.

      I suggest you get off your high horse and have some respect for a man that found something as simple as YouTube and created a gold mine from it, and having his work be something he enjoys doing.

      I don’t exactly fancy his content, but I have the sense to realise that this is impressive (especially if his content is as shitty as you say it is.)

      Once you’re making more than him, go ahead and criticise his methods. But until then, just leave the guy alone.

  13. Doge says:

    It’s sad how people like him are getting this much money per year just by screaming into a microphone and camera. His general audience is mostly composed of kids who will laugh at anything…

    How did society get this stupid?

  14. Crowbane says:

    Just go, watch one of his videos, and weep for a society that heaps that much money on a jabbering monkey like him.

  15. he makes content that people watch and he get monney for it just like hollywood producers do and they get monney for it to. thats how it works you get monney for doing a servise. i dont know what people are so angree for

  16. none of your business says:

    This just goes to show how degraded our society has become when some paris hilton type man can play video games all day and make dumb comments or just babbling on about nothing can make millions.

    • Artis Thoms says:

      Why is that “degraded”? People watch his videos for entertainment, so advertisers get value when they pay to advertise on his channel. He makes money the same way the NFL or college football, or Variety or Car and Driver does. They pay for impressions. He doesn’t steal the money, you don’t have to pay him, why hate on him?

  17. Who gives a shit how much that cupcake makes, don’t ya’ll have anything better to report…?

    • Mystique Aaliyah. Prosper says:

      thank you so much for noticing how dumb this shit is no9 body is understanding how pewdiepie is doing nothing but sitting on his ass to make money.

    • Mystique Aaliyah. Prosper says:

      don’t you notice how this will look from a kids point of view if I was not so mature than I would be thinking that a proper job is being a youtuber how will other kids take this? this is not the time for people to be happy for pewdiepie. Sure I love pewdiepie videos but they should tell kids that this is not a proper job in adult hood. I don’t like that people are being happy about this you should be a proper adult and notice about how kids can take this I’m only 11 1/2 and I know that this is not a proper job for any adult

  18. Mystique Aaliyah. Prosper says:

    Pewdiepie did this? How? How do you think this will show kids about adult hood? All that this shows is that a youtuber can make money just by sitting on his butt all day making videos. Pen and Teller Bullshit should come back and make a season on this!!!! I am not saying that I hate pewdiepie. I really like pewdiepie’s videos. but this is to far to show how adult hood is like!

    • adir says:

      dude its not all about that you how hard he works sure you think his job is easy but filming is the easy part he has to edit his videos wich every video takes something about 4 hours to edit and he also do blogs and lot more stuff so basiclly his life is actually harder than most people because he is a celebrity and has alot of thing he has to do

    • Ivan says:

      Through hard work and commitment. You’re seeing it from the wrong perspective. Adulthood isn’t something that should be taken in as a boring stage in life only wearing you down, instead it should be seen that practically anything is possible. Look, all we know is him playing video games, but perhaps behind the scenes he is a responsible young adult that has everything well under control. So to go on and say that kids will end up being lazy trying to recreate his success is kind of unlikely. If at all kids try to follow his steps, they will realize that things aren’t as easy as it seems. This way of living has to have a lot of stress such as: trying to avoid using offensive terms, keeping things fresh so viewers stay tuned, and above else creating the videos itself that must take quite a bit of time regardless of how many years he’s been doing this. Just be glad that he actually gives the wealth back to people in charities, you don’t read about that huh? All that matters is how much he earns, but not how much he donates. So lighten up a bit:]

  19. ahmed abdin says:

    actually 3 youtubers gained even more and one the same. blucollection gained the same, while rooster teeth gained 13.4 million, Michelle phan gained 17.1 million, and funtoyzcollecter gained 30.4 million dollars pewdepie not even half of that wooow the number 1 most subscribed channel doesn’t gain as half as much as funtoyzcollecter from what i read a toy collecting channel and has 5.5 million subs

  20. Al Swearengen says:

    Good for him, couldn’t of happened to a nicer guy.

  21. Joey Scarpa says:

    WELL SEND ITS NON OF YOUR BUSINESS ADULTS JUST DONT UNDERSTAND THE NEW MEDIA AND I HATE NEWS FACEBOOK ETC and #s im that akward weird teenager who doesnt snapchat and instagram a shit like that and seriously when someone says #blessed i die a little inside agh my heart

    • jsm says:

      Try learning to write a complete sentence and using punctuation. You’re a waste of space like the rest of internet idiots. Go buy another pos iphone!

    • Wall says:

      I realize nothing I write will change anyone’s opinions, as you can only change yourself and not others, but I am hoping for the slim chance there is one person that is willing to see another perspective. If you truly did not want to watch Pewdepie’s videos or that matter ANY videos, you do not have to. That is as simple as this is.

      I am not even a fan of Pewdepie, yet this is so simple not to watch his or any content that doesn’t interest me. Nothing personal against him, as I neither know him and very actually do. Let’s be honest here folks, Google is a corporation and they don’t exist just to give money away. Felix brings in millions, if not billions of views to Youtube and that in turn provides profit via sponsors as well.

      Because Felix appeals to the mainstream majority, he is able to obtain the amount of money he earns from his videos and the sponsorship’s. Say what you will about his content, to get where he is now is no easy feat. Video production is not as easy as this might seem and catering to the masses can be mentally exhausting. Sadly, the very second you stop appealing to the masses be it with a certain stance or how you present yourself, good luck ever obtaining the amount of money you once earned.

      As some Youtubers do not have a plan b career, hence why some will do anything to stay relevant and continue to make the money they do. Strongly doubt any that have earned millions want to return to minimum wage or even a average wage.

  22. Rex says:

    Those are some STAGGERING drops from one person to the next, and #8(s) barely making a quarter of what #1 does. Proof positive that YouTube “stardom” is truly limited. The article pretty much states outright that these people get MOST of their income from ads since there’s really no other sources outside of the occasional sponsorship deal, and it’s pretty obvious how unsuccessful most of those are for the companies that indulge these “performers” outside of their bedrooms. Kinda refreshing to read this, actually, as it might deter the BILLIONS of other wannabes (and future wannabes) from thinking they’ll truly make it big without earning it in the real world.

  23. James says:

    Unworthy and undeserved.

  24. Aluminah says:

    So what? Good for him!

  25. Fofus says:

    Well, from making photoshop art to being the No.1 in YouTube. He deserves it, besides, everyone likes to talk about money, but why not include how much he has donated to charity as well?

  26. Stephano says:

    Where are they getting this figure? his tax records show $7.5 million income

  27. Krononex Etienne says:

    Love when people bring religion in conversations XD. Maybe jealous you can’t entertain 40 million people and earn that much?

  28. tailingcube says:

    22-year old student here. Love his videos. He puts a lot of effort in them,

  29. Crippleback says:

    Pewdiepie worked hard for it. Started by selling hot dogs to fund his videos. Kudos to him. Hard work pays off, period.

  30. Mr Furious says:

    Further proof that there is no God and no Justice in this world.

More Digital News from Variety

Loading