Back again for 2016, everyone’s favourite financial website has released their official ranking for the “richest YouTubers” of the year; and honestly we just don’t care. As a community of people dedicated to uploading content that makes them happy creatively, is it really still necessary to be talking about earnings when there are more pressing issues at hand?! Sort it out Forbes.
Now, we won’t be explicitly listing any of the earnings mentioned in the Forbes article, as we genuinely think there are better ways to move the conversation about YouTubers being rich. So if that’s all you’re here for, we suggest you have a Google. But top of our agenda is how freaking off their estimations were.
We’ve all come to expect mainstream media using YouTubers as clickbait, but clearly it has results; every move the likes of Zoella and PewDiePie make is constantly scrutinised in the name of clicks. When Forbes put in the headline of their article that PewDiePie earns “$15 million”, it’s no wonder everyone freaked out a little bit. But we’re here to break it down for real for you.
Being a YouTuber still means you need to be taxed. This website lists all the tax brackets for people who need to tax their income, which includes the money creators get from YouTube. Forbes report that Felix earns $15 million based on “data from Nielsen, IMDB and other sources, as well as on interviews with agents, managers, lawyers, industry insiders and the stars themselves”. If this is the case, then he’s easily in the highest tax bracket; this means he has to deduct 39.6% of his income as tax.
This means Felix is actually left with an annual income that looks more like $5,940,000 – nearly a third less than what Forbes are claiming. This amount still doesn’t include the money he would need to subtract for “management fees” either; so what the hell?!
Forbes do rightly go on to say that YouTubers have been able to increase their income from widening their influence into the mainstream audience; this includes things like Lilly Singh’s lipstick line, Colleen Ballinger’s Netflix series, Tyler Oakley’s book and new Ellen DeGeneres show, and PewDiePie’s YouTube Red series and hugely popular mobile game. But, as loyal fans of the YouTube community, we know that all or most of these ventures came from a place of passion and love. So who gives a toss how much money they made by it?!
So yes, we can half agree that the “10 channels that have made the most from their streaming stardom” are extremely important to talk about and celebrate for the 2016 that they’ve had… but why does it always have to boil down to earnings? We’re certain Zoella and Markiplier aren’t particularly happy about having their income splashed around the Internet, so can we all please stop talking about it and move on with our lives?
So, we’re looking at you now Forbes. This may be your “second annual ranking of the top-paid YouTube stars”, but we kindly ask if it can be your last. Does it really change the way you consume content if you know how much money is coming into Felix’s bank account that month? We think not.