YouTube’s richest list: MrBeast is the most highly paid YouTube star in 2021

Steffan Powell
Gaming reporter

Image source, MrBeast/Youtube

MrBeast delights his audience with pranks, stunts, and other tricks

According to Forbes, Jimmy Donaldson (23-year-old American known as MrBeast) was YouTube’s most-earning content creator for 2021.

His elaborate stunts have generated more than 10 billion views on the platform and earned him $54m (£39m).

Ryan Kaji (10 years old), who was the top-ranked toy critic for two consecutive years, has been overtaken by Ryan.

Together, the 10 best-paid YouTubers made a combined $300m (£218m) in 2021, the US magazine estimated.

Jake Paul, Logan and Logan are back after being absent from 2017 to take second place.

Nathan Graham, a Minecraft player, is fifth on the list.

Chris Stokel Walker, YouTube trends expert said that this year’s list was interesting as it shows how “stale” YouTube is. It struck him how masculine and white the entire list was, he stated.

If you look through the lists from previous years, any name will likely be there.

Boom Time

Traditional entertainment media faced difficulties adapting to the pandemic. Movie releases were delayed and soap opera programs were changed.

YouTube was however, a period of boom.

The platform has 2.3 billion global users, according to studies. YouTube estimates that YouTube users consume one billion hours per day of video content.

Stokel-Walker stated that YouTube was created to shake up media and eliminate gatekeepers. It was intended to revolutionize the way our society and entertainment industries look.

This list shows that the platform is becoming more similar to TV than it should be. Content is now very important. We can see it in MrBeast’s creations.

It’s different from anything on YouTube. It is much more expensive than TV.

Stokel-Walker stated that the current high production costs of YouTube are making it difficult to get into this platform, and suggested you should “pay to be successful”.

Forbes doesn’t identify the richest earners solely based on their views. It is more about those who are able to make money with brand partnerships and sponsorships, as well as merchandise sales.

While YouTube’s content may not be in English, two-thirds of it is. However, English-speaking creators seem to have the most financial success.

YouTube, as many modern media platforms, has been dealing with harmful and misinformation issues. However, this seems to not have affected the creators’ ability to bring sponsors and advertisers to their channel.

This is the complete Top 10.

10. Preston Arsement

Preston Arsement has grown his community thanks to video content centered around Minecraft. However, he also runs multiple channels on the site.

A regular on this list, he earned an estimated $16m (£11) in 2021 – down a little from the year before, when he placed sixth.

9. Logan Paul

Last year, the controversial boxer and YouTube vlogger was in the Top 10. He earned $18m (£13m) in 2021.

8. Ideal Dude

In 2020, Dude Perfect, a comedy prankster was at number three. He made $20m (£14m) last year.

7. Ryan Kaji

The number one toy critic in the world has fallen to the seventh spot.

In 2021, his blend of toy reviews, educational videos and family vlogs helped him earn $27m (£19m).

6. Nastya

Nearly 90 million people have subscribed to the seven-year old Russian on YouTube.

She started as a toy unboxer but now her vlogs and music videos are growing in popularity and her earnings have risen to $28m (£20m) in 2021.

5. Unspeakable

The Minecraft player is a new addition that has been uploaded to YouTube for over ten years.

He sold the rights to his back catalogue to the business Spotter last year, which contributed to his earnings of $28.5m (£20m).

4. Rhett und Link

A staple of the YouTube highest earning list, the hosts of geek chat show Good Mythical Morning earned $30m (£22m) in 2021.

3. Markiplier

Another regular gaming creator, Markiplier has used his business acumen to make a successful brand of merchandise, earning $38m (£27m) last year.

2. Jake Paul

Jake Paul is back at the top 10 after he branched out to boxing. His high-profile fights against UFC stars helped him earn $45m (£32m) in 2021.

This is a remarkable turnaround from the creator, who in 2017 was criticised by his brother for their vlogs. Many found them to be poor.

He has more plans for boxing in 2022 so it is not surprising that he will continue to be a YouTube star on the next list.

1. MrBeast

YouTube’s most successful creator uses pranks and stunts to entertain his followers.

He recreated the Netflix Squid Game elements on his channel last year and played hide-and-seek in an 80,000 seater stadium. Then he was buried underground.

Jimmy Donaldson nearly doubled his earnings in 2021 due to the MrBeast hamburger franchise and 10 billion views. He was second on the list last year.


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