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PewDiePie Tops List of Highest-Paid YouTube Stars

Swedish video game commenter earns $12 million in the past year, while comedy duos Smosh and Fine Brothers tie for second

PewDiePie has topped the list of highest-paid YouTube stars.

The Swedish video game commenter, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, earned $12 million pretax in the past year off of advertisements from his channel, according to the first ranking of its kind done by Forbes.

PewDiePie has been popping up more and more in the conversation surrounding social media influencers of late, including during TheWrap’s sixth annual Media Leadership Conference, TheGrill, in October.

“I’m fascinated by PewDiePie,” Rick Hess, founder and manager of Evolution Media Partners, said at the conference. “It’s an extraordinary following that he has and presence on the largest video platforms today. He can move the needle, so he becomes an influencer and a marketer and an entertainer all in one.”

Smosh, the comedy duo made up of friends Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, also ranked high on the list. The two earned a reported $8.5 million based off their YouTube channels and the release of “Smosh: The Movie.”

Self-taught make up artist Michelle Phan also made her way into the top 10. Thanks to her YouTube channel and make up line, Phan raked in a cool $3 million.

Check out the complete top 10 below.

Top 10 Highest-Paid YouTube Star

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, Rosanna Pansino–$2.5 million