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MrBeast ranks as the highest-paid YouTuber of 2021; Jake Paul and Markiplier among Top 10

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jan 15, 2022 1:21 pm

Jimmy Donaldson a.k.a. MrBeast dominated the YouTube space in terms of earnings in 2021, with a record $54 million or P2.8 billion, the most of any YouTuber ever according to Forbes. 

The 23-year-old YouTuber has accumulated over 10 billion views the past year, more than triple of what he had in 2020, which is about three billion.

Donaldson, with over 88 million subscribers and counting, orchestrated massive stunts that were almost always a total hit for viewers.

In November, he hosted his own version of Squid Game, based on the hit Netflix series of the same name. Donaldson and his team built replicas of the show’s sets and reportedly spent $2 million (P102.6 million) for production and $1.5 million more (P77 million) for prizes. The winner took home the $456,000 (P23.4 million) grand prize. The video currently has 202 million views.

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Among his most popular stunts in 2021 include spending 50 hours buried alive, and another 50 hours in solitary confinement. 

He also embarked on an ambitious project—MrBeast Burger, where he partnered with over 1,600 restaurants across the US and allowed fans to order MrBeast-branded meals. Through this app, Donaldson has so far sold five million sandwiches with profits he splits with the restaurants involved.

Donaldson dethroned the past three years’ highest earner—10-year-old Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s World, who is known for his unboxing and toy review videos for kids. Kaji now sits at No. 7, with $27 million (P1.4 billion).

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The male-dominated Top 10 highest-earning YouTubers for 2021 includes Jake Paul, a YouTuber and American professional boxer who is no stranger to controversy. After slipping out of the list in 2018, Paul returns in the No. 2 spot with $45 million (P2.3 billion). 

Also trailing behind at No. 3 is Mark Fischbach a.k.a. Markiplier with $38 million (almost P2 billion) earnings. His earnings doubled from last year, where he ranked No. 5 in the list. He currently has 31.5 million followers.

According to Forbes, with Donaldson, Paul and Fischbach’s earnings, it would have put each of the three YouTubers in its recent Celebrity 100. The list ranks the top-paid stars across all of entertainment, with a $35 million cutoff.

Here are the Top 10 highest-paid YouTubers of 2021:

  1. MrBeast – $54 million
  2. Jake Paul – $45 million
  3. Markiplier – $38 million
  4. Rhett & Link – $30 million
  5. Unspeakable – $28.5 million
  6. Like Nastya – $28 million
  7. Ryan Kaji (Ryan’s World) – $27 million
  8. Dude Perfect – $20 million
  9. Logan Paul – $18 million
  10. Preston – $16 million

The figures “estimate measure earnings from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2021, a change from out past lists, which looked at pay from June through June of a given year,” Forbes said.

These numbers are pre-tax, and fees for agents, managers and lawyers were not yet deducted.

Further, the earnings estimates were based on data from Captiv8, SocialBlade and Pollstar, and interviews with industry insiders, according to Forbes.