While 2020 wasn't, um, great, for most of the world's population, for a select group of 10 people, it was all rather lucrative.
Last week, Forbes published its annual list of highest-earning YouTube stars and 10 extremely fortunate folk were shown to have spent 2020 raking it in. Before we get into it, note that the earnings stats are based on data from June 1, 2019 to June 1 of this year and that fees for YouTubers' agents, managers and lawyers (the latter of which controversy-ridden Jeffree Star probably had to fork over a lot for) aren't deducted.
First off, the YouTuber who took out #1, reportedly earning a whopping USD $29.5 million this year, Ryan Kaji. The interesting bit isn't even the dosh, but the fact he's nine years old. Yep. I can't even remember what I was doing at the ripe ol' age of nine. But it definitely wasn't 'being a millionaire'.
Next point of interest: Jeffree Star. Last year, the beauty YouTuber took home the #5 slot, but this year he plummeted to #10. (Which, given his year of public scandals, checks out.) Though, keep in mind the Forbes list stopped collecting data back in June. So the financial backlash from his most recent controversies – including an Insider article investigating allegations of sexual assault and violence against him – wouldn't have been captured. Which makes us think, given the way things are going for Star, he might even be left off the 2021 list entirely.
Our final observation is the fact that James Charles is, for some reason, nowhere to be seen. Charles, who despite losing the most subscribers in YouTube history back in May 2019 (a whopping 1.7 million), only to come back stronger (now with a bigger channel than both Jeffree Star and Tati Westbrook) is not on the list. How though? Our guess – informed, of course – is that Star is still making passive cash off previously-setup revenue streams, and that while Charles' following has obviously grown this year, he still has a ways to go in catching up to Star monetarily.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the list of YouTube's highest-earners of 2020. (Props if you've heard of all these people.)
#10 Jeffree Star
#9 David Dobrik
#7 Nastya (Anastacia Radzinskaya)
#6 Preston Arsement
#5 Markiplier (Mark Fischbach)
#4 Rhett and Link
#3 Dude Perfect
#2 Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson)
#1 Ryan Kaji
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.