All around the web, from Facebook to Tumblr to 4chan, memes rule. While usually the goal behind these internet inside jokes is to make you laugh, some of these memes mean serious business.
YouTube can provide a significant source of income by itself. But when a YouTube star can take their talents elsewhere, that’s when the money usually starts to roll in.
We looked into 7 web celebs who found fame and fortune from YouTube. All the YouTube earning estimates are from the social analytics site Social Blade, and are meant to simply provide a frame of reference.
The iconic sourpuss could be grabbing anywhere from $US2,200 to $US18,900 from his YouTube channel, but with merchandise deals, it's likely Tartar Sauce is earning more than that. The Washington Post reports Grumpy Cat had grabbed cash in 'the low six-figures' as of last spring. Those figures don't include the feline's movie deal with Lifetime for this coming winter's 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.'
The meme that never dies. Numa Numa might have started with the world laughing at him, but Gary Brolsma joined in on the fun with a YouTube channel that could grab as much as $14,4000 every year. Two years after the initial video blew up, Brolsma returned with a video called 'New Numa,' along with a contest for fans to submit their videos where 50 winners grabbed $US45,000 in prize money. Three years after that, Geico revived the Numa yet again, this time with the iconic Gecko.
Since that fateful trip to the dentist in 2009, David Devore's drugged up antics have netted his family more than $US150,000. Through a combination of YouTube ad sales and merchandise, the family has certainly cashed in on the cultural phenomenon that has Joseph Gordon Levitt still laughing in 2014.
With just under 40,000,000 views on YouTube, Paul 'Yosemitebear Mountain Goat' Vasquez conceivably could have made a killing on advertising (between $1,404 and $US11,700, compared to the $US5,000 per year that he lives on.) However, he opted to not advertise on his video, he told Fast Company, instead making money through live appearances on shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Tosh.0. His ad with Microsoft might be what truly comemrcialized the phrase 'all the way across the sky.'
His video 'Chocolate Rain' became a huge hit ripe for parity in 2007, and since then Tay Zonday has been raking in the dough. Through ad sales, he could be bringing in as much as $US60,000 per year, though he told the LA Times a good chunk of his income actually comes from ringtone and music sales.
In 2007, Zonday made a promotional song called 'Cherry Chocolate Rain' with Dr. Pepper. Obviously it's fictional, but the threads he wears in the video certainly make him seem like a made man.
Pulling in as much as $US63,000 per year from its YouTube channel alone, the Keyboard Cat meme is way larger thanks to the enormous number of parodies all over the web. The meme's agent Ben Lashes (who also represents Grumpy Cat) told Vice a commercial with Wonderful Pistachios and a movie trailer parody are just the beginning for the musical feline.
This one is a little different, because Rick Astley had fame and fortune before the Internet really even existed. The 'Never Gonna Give You Up' crooner retired from music in 1993 at just 27 years old, TNT Magazine reports. But when the same song that made him famous in the '80s blew up again in the 2000s thanks to YouTube and an Internet full of pranksters, he found fame and fortune yet again. 'I made quite a bit of money from it,' he told Metro.co.uk.
Technoviking had everything you could ever want in a meme. It's a great video of a spontaneous event that featured music, dancing, and muscles. The video of an enormous electronic music fan captured at a German music festival was a huge hit on YouTube in 2006 pulling in tens of millions of views. Technoviking was the greatest combination of EDM and muscles the Internet had ever seen.
Unfortunately, the man featured in the video disagrees.
Last year the creator of the Technoviking video, Matthias Fritsch faced trial in German court against the Technoviking himself. The Internet-famous figure won the trial over the use of his image and Fritsch was ordered to pay a total of over $US20,000 in fines, the Daily Dot reported.
Memes aren't always exactly what they seem to be; sometimes what you've seen on your computer screen is a little bit off.