YouTube star PewDiePie earned $7.4m last year
James R | On 12, Jul 2015
How much did you earn in 2014? And have you ever considered a change in career? Many people might well have this week, as it came to light that one YouTube star earned over $7 million last year.
YouTube celebrities have become increasingly prevalent in society, from book deals and appearances on normal TV to charity patrons and – last weekend – an entire convention dedicated to Minecraft, which would never have taken place without the growth of the YouTube gaming community. For some, the notion of a celebrity vlogger seems bizarre, even as they ratchet up billions of views and millions of subscribers. YouTube star PewDiePie (whose real name is Felix Kjellberg), for example, has the most popular channel on the streaming site, with over 4 billion views and 33 million subscribers. Figures published by Swedish site Expressen (via the Guardian), though, proves there’s just as much money in this new form of celebrity as the traditional one: Kjellberg earned $7.4 million in 2014.
That revelation sparked a backlash online, which the vlogger addressed with a video titled “Let’s Talk About Money”. It has since received over 6 million views.
“Money is a topic that I have purposefully tried to avoid for the five years that I’ve been making videos, because I just feel like it’s not important to anyone,” said the 25-year-old, who began his vlogging career supporting it with a day job on a hot dog stand.
“The fact that I could make videos was so much more important to me than I had to spend a few hours a day doing a job that wasn’t that prestigious,” he continued.
“I knew people were big at other types of videos, but there was no one big in gaming, and I didn’t know you could make money out of it… it was just something I loved to do.
“Here we are five years later and it’s exploded.”
Addressing his haters, he noted that “they thought I just sit on my ass all day, and I just yell at the screen over here”.
“Which is true!” he added. “But there’s so much more to it than that.”
“I am just as happy as I am now, as I was five years ago … To see so many people being upset about this whole thing, it’s sad.”
Much like traditional celebrities, though, Kjellberg is one of a number of vloggers who have also sought to use their fame to make a difference: he has also raised funds for charities, such as Save the Children and Charity:Water.
“It seems like the whole world cares more about how much money I make than I do myself,” he commented.
While those haters go on hating, Kjellberg will no doubt already be working on his next upload: it might not have been a money-making career when he first started out making videos, but it has certainly become one. And now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to buy a video camera.