6 YouTube Stars Who Make Millions
PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, tops the list with $12 million last year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2015 9:17 AM CDT
Anthony Padilla, left, and Ian Hecox arrive at the LA Premiere of "Smosh: The Movie" at Westwood Village Theatre on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Mixed in with all those cat videos on YouTube, you'll find performances, vlogs, and tutorials from some of the site's biggest stars, who make millions each year off their videos. Check out the six YouTube stars who pull in the most cash, via Forbes, which notes the sums (for the year ending June 1, 2015) don't include things like taxes and "management fees":

  1. PewDiePie, $12 million: The 25-year-old Swede, real name Felix Kjellberg, sits atop the list thanks to his nearly 40 million subscribers, who tune in to watch Kjellberg play (and loudly react to) video games. His channel currently features a 16-minute "thank you montage for hitting 10 billion views." Forbes notes he's "notoriously private."
  2. Smosh, $8.5 million (tie): Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla started out making live-action skits based on Pokémon games. The comedy duo now runs five YouTube channels and released their own movie, Smosh: The Movie, in July.

  1. Fine Brothers, $8.5 million (tie): Benny and Rafi Fine first earned fans, and eventually a Daytime Emmy Award, for their "React" videos, which showed people’s reactions to bizarre clips or music videos. Among their popular videos: "Teens react to Gangnam Syle," viewed 32 million times.
  2. Lindsey Stirling, $6 million: When a major record label didn't sign her in 2007, Stirling started posting videos of her performances, in which she dances and plays the violin, to YouTube. Here's one collaboration she did with John Legend.
  3. Rhett & Link, $4.5 million (tie): Rhett McLaughlin, 38, and Charles Lincoln Neal III, 37, worked corporate jobs before posting comedy videos to YouTube. Now half of their earnings come from sponsorship deals with brands like Gillette and Wendy's.
  4. KSI, $4.5 million (tie): Briton Olajide Olatunji started out as a video game commentator, but has since used his nearly 11 million followers to jump-start his dream of having a hip-hop career. His single "Lamborghini" hit the UK charts this past April.
Click for more from the list, or check out 7 YouTube stars who want to be the next Oprah.