Forbes’ list of highest-paid YouTube stars is once again topped by 9-year-old Ryan Kaji with his “Ryan’s World” channel earning $29.5 million in 2020.
That’s right. A 9-year-old raked in $29.5 million with 12.2 billion views and 41.7 million subscribers on YouTube in 2020.
This November he became the first YouTuber featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a float based on his superhero alter ego. It was a marketing ploy as much as it was a thrilling moment for the kids who tune into Kaji’s videos of DIY science experiments, family storytime and reviews of new toys. That’s just the start: The bulk of his business comes from licensing deals for more than 5,000 Ryan’s World products—everything from bedroom decor and action figures to masks and walkie talkies.
The rest of the 2020 Forbes’ highest-paid YouTube stars list is littered with names familiar to anyone with access to the internet.
Coming in second in 2020 was Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson) at $24 million in earnings. Like Ryan Kaji, Donaldson also has his own merchandise line thanks to 3 billion views this year.
The familiar faces of Dude Perfect were watched 2.77 billion times in 2020, placing them in third place with $23 million in earnings. Their popularity led to a national tour, a documentary titled Backstage Pass, and allowed them to raise around $160,000 for the Red Cross and Feeding America when the pandemic hit.
In fourth place this year are Rhett and Link at $20 million in earnings. In addition to their original YouTube channel, Rhett and Link also own “Good Mythical Morning” and “Smosh” which when combined gives them a total of 41.8 million subscribers and employs 100 people.
With $19.5 million, Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) rounds out the top five thanks to his 27.8 million subscribers including a new channel he founded with CrankGameplays (Ethan Nestor) called “Unus Annus” which, by their design deletes all of its videos after a year has elapsed.
6. Preston Arsement – $19 million
7. Like Nastya (Anastasia Radzinskaya) – $18.5 million
8. Blippi (Stevin John) – $17 million
9. David Dobrik – $15.5 million
10. Jeffree Star – $15 million
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