The Highest Paid YouTube Stars of 2020: It’s Raining Money!

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The list of highest-paid YouTubers in 2020 can’t be more exciting. With the increasing consumption of video content, top YouTubers are minting jaw-dropping money – much more than ever before.

The wacko realm that is YouTube has all different kinds of personalities. Catering to audiences of all kinds, the upper echelon in the entertainer hierarchy has a kid who reigns supreme, houses multiple newcomers, and some veterans who have been topping the charts for quite some time now. With booming business and that time of the year where we get the “lists”, let’s have a look at what’s been cooking at YouTube and meet its highest-paid stars for the year 2020.

Spanning an impressive range of age-groups and content for the myriad flavours, YouTube seems to have added another level to its stars’ money-spinning pursuits in 2020. If estimates at Forbes are to be believed, the video-sharing platforms biggest celebrities raked in some serious moolah, bringing in as much as $211 million from June 1, 2019, to June 1, 2020, constituting an impressive jump of 30% in a pandemic hit year.

Even though there was cause for alarm initially in the year when there were concerns regarding the dip in ad revenue, the company rebounded spectacularly and creators were also able to earn much more from brand deals.

What with the pandemic induced lockdowns in different parts of the world, YouTube proved to be the go-to staff on which the consumers leaned to get through the boredom and indulge themselves in fresh content in line with their tastes. All these factors combined to catapult viewership to newer heights, consequently driving up the popularity markers for the creators and in turn giving them to explore newer avenues for keeping subscribers engaged.

Indeed, YouTube has grown leaps and bounds in stature and reach, thanks to the homemade videos uploaded to the site by users, and an increasing amount of money to acquire premium content and on the computing infrastructure, allowing more and more people to attach themselves to the service.

Keeping in line with the diverse consumers, the highest-paid content creators also offer a mixed bag, having something in it for everybody. From make-up moguls, smooth comedians, and kids holding their own, let us have a look at those creators who pulled in the big bucks on YouTube in the crazy year of 2020.

1. Topping the charts is a nine-year-old Ryan Kaji, who boasts of a whopping 41.7 million subscribers, garnering as many as 12.2 billion views in the process. Completing a hat-trick of years at the pinnacle, Ryan became famous for his unboxing videos, in which he takes toys out of their packages and reviews them, much to the delight of kid viewers. The bulk of his earnings comes from licensing ventures (there are more than 5000 Ryan’s World products available!) now. And get this, this little dude’s ever-growing line of branded merchandise includes—toys, backpacks, toothpaste, and whatnot in addition to a Nickelodeon series called Ryan’s Mystery Playdate. With total earnings of $29.5 million, adults eat your heart out!

2. Number #2 on the list is Jimmy Donaldson aka Mr. Beast. A newcomer on the list, a guy who has frozen himself in ice, successfully constructed the largest Lego tower ever, and gone around 1000 times on a Ferris wheel, he certainly deserves his spot on the coveted list. Bringing a mix of stunts and infused humour, this bloke now has 47.8 million subscribers, with earnings touching $24 million in total. Not shabby for a new addition at all.

3. Earning the third spot on the list are the fab 5 bro gang of Coby Cotton, Cory Cotton, Garret Hilbert, Cody Jones, and Tyler Toney – Dude Perfect. As enviably and wickedly cool they are, these tricksters arguably have had more fun horsing around with Nerf Guns, lightsabers, and paintballs that most adults only crave during their lifetime. With a chunky 57.5 million subscriber base, the national tour based around their popular stunts fetched a handsome $6 million. Not only this, but the brothers also took to host the Quarantine Classic on their channel during the pandemic hit months and raised $160,000 for the Red Cross and Feeding America in charity. The Dude Perfect has gone on to amass $23 million in earnings.

4. Next up on the list are some of YouTube’s longest-standing stars. Starting their affable and nerd centric talk show “Good Mythical Morning” way back in 2012, Rhett (aka 43-year-old Rhett James McLaughlin) and Link (42-year-old Charles Lincoln III) have gone on to gather a strong 41.8 million subscriber base, piling an eye-popping $20 million in the process. Mythical Entertainment, which now has 100 employees, did 1.9 billion views on YouTube in the past year, bringing in some $11 million in estimated revenue from YouTube’s ad-share program. Its loyal fan club has monthly dues ranging from $10 to $20 for access to exclusive content.

5. Posting up immensely popular videos of video games for the better part of the decade, YouTuber Markiplier thoroughly deserves his 27.8 million subscriber base. From his 31-part dissection of Cry of Fear to founding a new channel Unus Annus to performing stunt-y vlogs, Markiplier has come a long way. His gimmick of posting a video every day for a year, erasing all the content (perhaps a comment about the fickle lifespan of the Internet popularity), managed to pull in a billion viewers. Among all this, he has pulled in an impressive $19.5 million from YouTube.   

Other notable mentions are many, but special shout-outs are reserved for make-up baron Jeffree Star, who despite being caught up in scandals has managed to accrue $15 million in earnings. Having a steady subscriber base of $16.9 million, his makeup line is arguably more flourishing than his YouTube channel, something which he sells direct-to-consumers.

Six-year-old Russian Nastya (Anastasia Radzinskaya), is another who has become a darling on the platform. Featuring videos on her channel where she and her father play with legos, do simple household chores, the global tot viewership has certainly responded to this cutie-pie, who has earned a massive $18.5 million while garnering an astonishing 190.6 million subscribers.

In what seems to be a trend, nearly all the highest-grossing YouTubers of 2020 earned the majority of their income from ad revenue generated from their YouTube videos, a number that soars if the videos consumed are family-friendly. It really shows that the chunk of 77% of US internet users aged 15-25 tuning into YouTube has also given the revenues and popularity of these creators a huge uplift.

Closer to home, YouTubers like Ashish Chanchlani, Ajay Nagar aka CarryMinati, Techincal Guruji are the players who dominate the scene, enjoying huge viewership among the desi youth population.

While the list has sprung many surprise occupants, it is fun-filled and diverse with a plethora of domains. When the time for the next list is due, let’s see who will battle out for the top spots.

Till then, stay creative, stay safe, and stay tuned for more interesting content.


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