There are a variety of paths to gain a large following on YouTube, and it’s a pursuit that can potentially yield millions of dollars.
In the US, YouTube stars like comedian Jenna Marbles, game-vlogger Markiplier, and the sports-tricks channel Dude Perfect have all gained millions of subscribers through their engaging relationships with fans.
Dude Perfect, who rank as the most popular YouTubers in the US on this list, were also the third highest-paid YouTube channel in the world in 2017, with an estimated income of $US14 million, according to Forbes.
To figure out which YouTube stars are making the most noise in the US, we looked at the SocialBlade rankings to rank the most popular channels by their subscriber counts. We focused on independent YouTube stars, disregarding mainstream music channels.
Here’s how the US YouTube stars stack up in 2018:
Maya Kosoff and Nathan McAlone contributed to earlier versions of this post.
11. Liza Koshy — 13.5 million subscribers
Subscribers: 13.5 million
Liza Koshy, formerly a prominent Vine comedian, started to gain a massive following on YouTube in 2016 with humorous videos that she produces weekly. Koshy has since gone on to star in the Hulu series “Freakish!” and Tyler Perry’s horror-comedy “Boo! A Madea Halloween.”
10. Jake Paul — 13.5 million subscribers
Subscribers: 13.5 million subscribers
2017 estimated salary: $US11.5 million
Jake Paul started out as a personality on the now-defunct Vine, creating comedic shorts with his older brother, Logan Paul (the eighth most popular YouTuber in the US). Paul now posts comedic videos, original music, and other material on his personal YouTube account. He has also become something of a villain in pop culture, as has his brother (see No. 8).
9. Roman Atwood — 14.260 million subscribers
Subscribers: 14.260 million
Roman Atwood is an Ohio-based vlogger who posts prank videos and other humorous daily-life updates that often involve his girlfriend and three kids. In November, Atwood premiered his own YouTube Red series, “Roman Atwood’s Day Dream,” which focuses on “extreme stunts.”
8. Epic Rap Battles of History — 14.269 million subscribers
Subscribers: 14.269 million
Epic Rap Battles of History started as a live improv skit by two friends, but quickly become an online sensation. Founders Peter Shukoff (NicePeter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLloyd) pick two figures from history or pop culture and imagine what it would be like if they faced off in a rap battle. The videos are entertaining, with characters as varied as Darth Vader, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Chuck Norris verbally battling one another in full costume.
7. Logan Paul — 16.6 million subscribers
Subscribers: 16.6 million
2017 estimated salary:
The former Vine star and older brother of Jake Paul has over 16 million followers on his personalYouTube account, where he posts vlogs and reaction videos. Paul drew intense criticism in January for filming the body of a man hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. YouTube withdrew some of its backing of Paul in the wake of the controversy by removing him from Google Preferred and putting his YouTube original projects on hold.
6. Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE) — 16.7 million subscribers
Subscribers: 16.7 million
Brooklyn natives Benny and Rafi Fine are the two online producers/writers/directors who created the successful React video series. In React’s various iterations – Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React – the brothers show viral videos to people and film their reactions. In 2016, they were involved in a controversy over trying to copyright the React video form that drew widespread backlash and led to a campaign to unsubscribe from the duo’s channel.
5. JennaMarbles — 17.8 million subscribers
Subscribers: 17.83 million
JennaMarbles (real name Jenna Mourey) has long been one of the most recognisable stars on YouTube. Though she started her career with BarStool Sports, Mourey soon moved into video after posting “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking,” which quickly blew up. Her channel features comedic videos about being a young millennial woman.
No. 4: Markiplier — 19.5 million subscribers
Subscribers: 19.5 million
2017 estimated salary: $US12.5 million
Mark Fischbach, known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well. He once told Variety that he wanted to “push [himself] into music and acting.”
No. 3: NigaHiga — 20.4 million subscribers
Subscribers: 20.4 million
Ryan Higa, who goes by the username NigaHiga, was one of the first major YouTube stars. Higa produces a variety of comedy videos, including sketches, music videos, and short commentaries on pop culture. His videos have high production value and a professional touch, with a quick, funny, and incisive sensibility.
No. 2: Smosh — 22.8 million subscribers
Subscribers: 22.8 million
2017 estimated salary: $US11 million
Smosh, started by comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo’s slapstick comedy videos that parodied video games and pop culture. Anthony Padilla left the Smosh channel in June 2017 to create his own solo YouTube account, which now has over 2 million followers.
No. 1: Dude Perfect — 26.8 million subscribers
Subscribers: 26.8 million
2017 estimated salary: $US14 million
Dude Perfect is a channel from twins Cory and Coby Cotton and three of their college friends from Texas A&M, all of whom are former high school basketball players. They do sports tricks and comedy, some of which makes fun of sports stereotypes.
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