How Much Do YouTube Celebrities Make?

By | December 21, 2008

Ever wonder how much money do the popular people on YouTube make? I do too. I want to know if it is possible to make a living off video blogging on YouTube.

YouTube has a traffic rank of #3 on Alexa (as of writing) with over 100 million video views per day. It is without a doubt that YouTube is the largest user-published video network out there. With that many traffic, it is only logical for people to think about making money from publishing videos.

YouTube allows users to reach audiences not only in their country but in all countries around the world. It allows you or anyone to make and publish music, movies, comedy sketches, etc. The opportunities are abundant and the possibilities are endless.

Traditionally, if you want to produce music, you would need to find a record company to sign you up. Today, with YouTube, you can cut off the middle-person. Simply create an account on YouTube and upload your music videos to the largest user-published video network and reach millions of people. The same story goes for movie makers, comedians, dancers, etc.

Many people have taken advantage of this opportunity on YouTube. Some of the famous people are LisaNova, Kevjumba, Miaarose, theresident, Happyslip, Amber Lee Ettinger (Obama Girl), SupaDupaFlyGirl, lonelygirl15 (Jessica Rose), and many more. These people are very popular on YouTube and produce new content on a regular basis. So how much do they make? Well, since they don’t publish their earnings, I can only guess.

To figure out how much each person makes or is worth, I will use the the subscribers and channel views as indicators to calculate their earnings power and multiple the number of subscribers and channel views by a factor of 5 cents and 1 cent, respectively. Here is the hypothetical formula:

Annual Earnings Power = (# of Subscribers x $0.05) + (# of Channel Views x $.01)

Subscribers: 148,989
Channel Views: 9,367,879

Lisa Nova is famous for making comedy sketches and parodies. She is one of the first YouTube celebrities that I have clicked to subscribe. I remember that she started off with only a handful of videos. Now she has published over 100 videos and the list is growing! I would think that with her large audience base, she would be making the big bucks. However, that does not seem to be the case. In her recently published video, “LisaNova’s Non-Corporately Sponsored Holiday Contest!!!,” she mentions that although some YouTubers are making tons of money, she is not one of them. She is an independent entity as the title of her recent video suggests, and she supports people to make independent videos.

Annual Earnings Power = (148,989 Subscribers x $0.05) + (9,367,879 Channel Views x $.01)
LisaNova’s Annual Earnings Power = $101,128

Subscribers: 371,106
Channel Views: 12,001,138

Kevin aka Kevjumba is famous for talking about his life as an Asian American and the stereotypes that he has to deal with. One of the famous videos he posted is a stare contest against Jessica Alba (to which she responded). Kevjumba’s channel is ranked #3 for the most subscribed channels of all times in the world.

Annual Earnings Power = (371,106 Subscribers x $0.05) + (12,001,138 Channel Views x $.01)
Kevjumba’s Annual Earnings Power = $138,567

Style: Singer-Songwriter
Joined: December 29, 2006
Last Sign In: 8 hours ago
Videos Watched: 2,321
Subscribers: 163,904
Channel Views: 11,146,877

Miaarose is a singer and a song writer. She writes her own lyrics and publishes her music on YouTube. When I first saw her on YouTube, she only had a few videos. Now she has published 33 videos on YouTube.

Annual Earnings Power = (163,904 Subscribers x $0.05) + (11,146,877 Channel Views x $.01)
Miaarose’s Annual Earnings Power = $119,664

Beat: Current Events
Subscribers: 18,170
Channel Views: 749,185

Lori aka The Resident makes videos based on current events. Many of the recent videos relate to the presidential election and the economy. She goes out on the streets and interviews people to get their opinions as well.

Annual Earnings Power = (18,170 Subscribers x $0.05) + (749,185 Channel Views x $.01)
Theresident Annual Earnings Power = $8,400 (seems a little low)

Style: Comedy
Subscribers: 248,219
Channel Views: 8,358,814

Christine aka HappySlip is known for making comedy videos. In her videos she also takes on multiple roles, playing not only as herself, but also as the mom, dad, uncle, aunt, friend, etc. This versatility in acting reminds me of actors like John Leguizamo and Mike Myers.

Annual Earnings Power = (248,219 Subscribers x $0.05) + (8,358,814 Channel Views x $.01)
HappySlip’s Annual Earnings Power = $95,999

Subscribers: 98,584
Channel Views: 5,016,618

Amber Lee Ettinger aka Obama Girl is famous for her video titled, “I Got a Crush…On Obama,” which has more than 12 million hits. She also makes other videos related to politics.

Annual Earnings Power = (98,584 Subscribers x $0.05) + (5,016,618 Channel Views x $.01)
Barelypolitical’s Annual Earnings Power = $55,095

Having traffic is the key to making money in YouTube. The more people viewing your videos, the more opportunities you will have to monetize on them. As you can see, the YouTube celebrities usually have high volume views in their channels.

The hypothetical formula is only a guess. It does not reflect the actual earnings of the YouTube people. Most people on YouTube do not discuss or comment on their earnings.

Do you publish videos and make money on YouTube? What type of videos and how much do you earn?

Note: The subscribers and channel views are recorded as of 12/21/2008.



22 thoughts on “How Much Do YouTube Celebrities Make?

  1. Lori

    Thanks for the mention! I don’t really make any money off of YouTube directly – your estimate probably isn’t too far off the mark. I don’t think of YouTube as my product, though – it’s a great marketing tool for my own site and my own production company. It’s a great place for future clients to see my work and how some clips have been really popular. I make my living from producing videos for these clients, who include NBC News, Discover Channel, and others.

  2. thrawst

    Your equation is defiantly off, I can never figure out approximately how much I will get paid each month from YT it’s some mix of clicks and add impressions, I’m almost certain that subscribers or channel views have nothing to do with it, those can only determine whether or not you get selected for the partner program.
    Your equation was only off by a factor of ~.451 (for me anyway) so maybe you have something here.

  3. Pingback: » Philanthropy YouTube Style

  4. Gabe

    this equation has to be way off, did the math for some of the top youtubers and for example sxe phil has made 28 million dollars with this equation. no way

  5. Matt

    Yeah I’m not sure about those numbers.. why does it matter if you are a subscriber? I guess the idea is that you care more about that person and are therefore worth more if they market other things? Interesting though.

  6. person

    Kevjumba has a charity channel where he donates all of his earnings for that channel to charity. I haven’t seen it go over $2,000 a month. His second channel doesn’t have as many subscribers as his first but it’s still one of the top subscribed channels and each video gets several hundred thousand views within the first couple of days.

    Souljaboy said he gets 10 cents for every comment or something like that. So perhaps it’s a combination of ad clicks as well as comments and new subscibers. You can’t tell people to click on ads since it’s against Google’s TOS but you can tell people to subscribe and leave a comment and that’s why almost all of the big youtubers constantly encourage people to subscribe and use things like “question of the day” to get people to leave a comment.

    I’m guessing that once you get above a certain number of subscribers, you get some extra bonus as well to get them to keep making videos but when it comes down to it, Google can only make money through ad clicks and homepage ad placements. Me watching a bunch of videos won’t make them a dime unless I click on an ad and buy something. The more viewers you can drive to your video, the higher the chance of someone clicking and buying something.

  7. Robert

    Guessing Google has not provided an exact break down to the public? If one of those folks shared their Adsense report for January 2010 we could better understand the earnings.

  8. Jessica C.

    I don’t think the calculations for their annual earnings are entirely accurate.

    The amount of videos they upload, comments they harbor, the amount of clicks per ad displayed on their page and viewers they get for each video are all huge factors in the formula for their annual earnings.

    Also, each youtube partner has a customized formula for calculating their annual earnings. Because of this, YouTube partners are not allowed to talk about their commission. Also YouTube partners are paid differently than with music record labels who are entitled to artists’ music videos.

  9. fififififififififififififi

    according to your formula Ray William Jhonson earns exactly $1137886.14 USD.
    Ok that is just impossible, that is a lot more than an engineer or a very well paid Doctor.

  10. ShimmyShimmyCoCoaPuff

    im a youtube partner and i usually get around $800 a month or less. Just playin I dont get SHIT!!!! LOL

  11. djsreview

    Name:djs review
    Channel Views:5,700
    Total Upload Views:84,294
    Beat:Current Events
    Joined:Aug 13, 2010
    Last Visit Date:5 days ago

    Total estimated earnings UK£44.86

    £1 per 2000 video views ? im shattered and its 516 am
    and that is only on videos that carry adverts no adverts / revenue sharing no $$$s made

  12. Jonathan

    Not far off from what I make… Not sure why this worked for me but doesn’t work for the big YouTuber’s hahah.

  13. Nina

    People actually make money by uploading videos to YouTube? o.0 I didn’t know that.

  14. Joe

    Some of you need to do your math better. The post about raywilliamjohnson, was 1 million 100 thousand, learn to read numbers better. And the comment for sxe phil, I know it’s 2 years later, but I just did the math, and he makes approx. 900k a year with this formula. These numbers don’t sound terribly off when it boils down to channels like Swifty and such, he spends so much money on prizes to just give away to his fans, I believe he makes 280k a year (accord to the formula), it would be difficult for him to make A LOT less, give literally $1000 worth of prizes away a month and still not need a second job (which he doesn’t have). Bunch of haters imo.

  15. Katie

    According to this Shane Dawson makes $2,399,012.16 a year. I think that’s a little off haha.

  16. John

    As a Youtube partner I have stopped telling people that I put videos on YouTube for a living, I now just tell them Im a freelance video editor, it saves a lot of explanation.
    None of my family or friends know that I have earned well into six figures from youtube, on the taxman and my accountant know.

  17. Shadow Candy

    I wish that I could someday post an amazingly awesome video and recieve more than 10 views on youtube. Yeah…

  18. Mariah

    how do they get the money then? they’re signed up to something that gives them it? that’s just one thing i can’t understand. . .

  19. david collett

    Actually with out a definite formula it is all just guise work, but I think these estimates are about right depending on the circumstance. As for all of those who say these estimates seem exaggerated ya need to understand a basic understanding that many of you overlook. Yt is paid for every ad just to be aired regardless weather or not you click it. If some one actually clicks the ad they get more and if you buy some thing or fill out a survey they get paid as well. So if you subscribe you get sent links which lead to more adds. As for people who get substantial notice they may get contracted to keep making videos so that companies can continue getting their ads out there. Lastly the more views you get the greater chance for making money and remember a hundred pennies make a dollar as easily as 20 nickels.


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