Here’s A Breakdown Of How 2015’s Biggest YouTubers Made Their Millions

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Buffer Festival is going down this weekend and you won’t want to miss it! The annual showcase, held in Toronto’s entertainment district, celebrates international video content from some of the hottest YouTube creators in a variety of screenings.

Tickets are still available for the digital festival AND you can stream Friday’s Gala starting at 9E/6P right here on But why would you want to do that?

Sure, learning how to make shareable and highly viewed YouTube content sounds awesome, but can people really make a living off doing something fun? To put it simply, yes.

Forbes recently released their list of the 10 highest earning YouTubers of 2015 and the numbers are impressive. So how did they do it? Let’s break it down.

Stay tuned to all weekend for exclusive coverage of the 2015 Buffer Festival. Stream Friday’s Gala starting at 9E/6P on

PewDiePie, $12 million

Joined YouTube: 2010
Subscribers: 39 million
Video Content: PewDiePie’s ‘Bro Army’ follow the YouTuber for his comedic commentary on video games.
Money Breakdown: This year alone, PewDiePie released his own video game PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist, a parody self help book This Book Loves You, was a voice actor for the fantasy series Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures, won a Streamy Award for Best Gaming Channel, Show, or Series, and has just signed on to make an online horror series with the producers of The Walking Dead.

Smosh, $8.5 million

Joined YouTube:2005
Subscribers: 21 million
Video Content: Seven channels with comedic skits
Money Breakdown: Headed by the comedic duo of Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, Smosh released a feature length film Smosh: The Movie this past July and both actors are to appear (at least their voices are) in next year’s The Angry Birds Film. This year they also launched a multi-channel network.

Fine Brothers, $8.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2009
Subscribers: 13 million
Video Content: Scripted comedic series
Money Breakdown: The Fine Brothers continue to write, publish and act in their scripted Reaction series, as well as their podcast All We Know. Thanks to sponsorship from Ford and Comedy Central, they’ve been able to produce interactive YouTube videos. This year they also hosted the TruTV series Six Degrees of Everything.

Lindsey Stirling, $6 million

Joined YouTube: 2011
Subscribers: 7 million
Video Content: Violin performance videos
Money Breakdown: Classically trained violinist Lindsey Stirling’s 2015 concert Lindsey Stirling: Live from London aired on public TV in the US and Europe this year with a live album of the same name also released. Stirling performed at the Echo Music Awards and was nominated for two Billboard Music Awards. In addition to finishing her world tour, Stirling announced that she would soon be releasing her autobiography.

Rhett & Link, $4.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2009
Subscribers: 3 million
Video Content: Comedic advertising videos
Money Breakdown: Comedians and advertising specialists Rhett and Link have been working on big name campaigns for years. This year alone, they partnered with Wendy’s, Hot Pocket, and GEICO, while continuing to create comedic videos for their Mythical Show YouTube channel and Ear Biscuits podcast.

KSI, $4.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2009
Subscribers: 10 million
Video Content: Video game reviews and original rap videos
Money Breakdown: KSI’s single Lamborghini hit the Top 30 in the UK this year and he released his first book.

Michelle Phan, $3 million

Joined YouTube: 2007
Subscribers: 8 million
Video Content: Beauty tutorials and DIY home hacks
Money Breakdown: In late 2014, Phan released her best selling book Make Up. She continues to sell her Em Michelle Phan make up line and has recently partnered with Endemol Beyond USA’s Icon Network and virtual reality company Littlstar.

Lilly Singh, $2.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2010
Subscribers: 6 million
Video Content: Comedic and motivation scripted videos
Money Breakdown: While on her first world tour, which sold out in over 25 cities, Singh documented her travels and released her first feature documentary, A Trip To Unicorn Island. Singh released two new songs this year and is set to star in Shah Rukh Khan’s 2016 film Raees.

Roman Atwood, $2.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2010
Subscribers: 7 million
Video Content: Prank Videos
Money Breakdown: Atwood recently began filming a prank series with Howie Mandel. His video showing Atwood pranking his girlfriend by filling their house with plastic balls was used by Nissan during the 2015 Super Bowl.

Rosanna Pansino, $2.5 million

Joined YouTube: 2011
Subscribers: 4 million
Video Content: Baking Tutorials
Money Breakdown: Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies is the most popular YouTube baking channel. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, which will feature both new and previously YouTube’d recipes, will be available in November.