10. Colleen Ballinger: $5 million
10. Rhett and Link: $5 million
8. German Garmendia: $5.5 million
8. Markiplier: 5.5 million
6. Tyler Oakley: $6 million
6. Rosanna Pansino: $6 million
4. Smosh: $7 million
3. Lilly Singh: $7.5 million
2. Roman Atwood: $8 million
1. PewDiePie: $15 million
The success stories are diverse while entirely mainstream. Colleen Ballinger, best known for her screechy alter ego Miranda Sings, made bank in 2016 by transplanting her YouTube act to Netflix. Tyler Oakley turned a socially conscious LGBT-themed channel into a book deal and endless Ellen appearances. Video prankster Roman Atwood doubled his annual earnings by going on tour, starring in the feature film Natural Born Pranksters, and selling crazy amounts of merchandise (do you have your Atwood beanie?). Forbes notes that Smosh rocketed up the list by sponsoring their videos; in 2016, the comedy duo shot an entire series paid for by Schick razors.
Then there's PewDiePie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, the Swedish gamer who turned incessant video-game narration into a cultural phenomenon. In 2016, he booked a high-profile gig with YouTube's paid channel YouTube Red, debuted new mobile apps, and published his first book, which sold over 112,000 copies. What did you do?