PewDiePie’s net worth comes mostly from his insanely popular YouTube Channel. The star has earned an estimated $124 million since 2010. Because he’s Swedish and in a 56% tax bracket, less than half of that goes in his pocket. Still, not too shabby for a 26-year-old.
For those you who don’t know, PewDiePie, or Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a Swedish YouTube star and comedian who built his wealth by commenting on video games and other hot topics. The star started posting YouTube videos in April of 2010. Since then he has amassed over 41 million subscribers and 11 billion YouTube views.
PewDiePie’s net worth is 80 times larger than Bernie Sanders’ $528,014 net worth and 1.4 times larger than Hillary Clinton’s net worth of $31.2 million. Stars with larger net worth than PewDiePie include LeBron James with $310 million, Miley Cyrus with $245 million and Bill Gates with $80 billion. In case you’re wondering, that’s 1,881 times larger than PewDiePie’s net worth. PewDiePie’s net worth is 625 times larger than the median American household’s net worth of $68,000.
PewDiePie’s net worth as of 2016: $61 Million
Let’s take a look how he came into so much money.
PewDiePie originally signed up for YouTube under the name “Pewdie”. Pew denotes the sound of laser and die means death. (I suppose this means, the sound of death in video games?)
Then he forgot the password and came back as “PewDiePie”. He dropped out of university to focus on YouTube videos, much to the fury of his parents (both senior executives of Swedish companies), who cut off PewDiePie’s financial support. So PewDiePie worked at a hot dog stand to make ends meet. He recalled the experience in a recent YouTube video, “the fact that I could make videos was so much more important to me than [that] I had to spend a few hours a day doing a job that wasn’t that prestigious.”
His passion paid off. And it paid off quickly. By December 2011, PewDiePie’s channel had around 60,000 subscribers.
Five years later, PewDiePie recalled, “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 never like a career that I could just quit college to pursue. it was just something I loved to do. And here we are five years later and it’s exploded.”
In 2012, his channel surpassed one million subscribers. OpenSlate ranked the PewDiePie channel as the #1 YouTube channel. In June 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that PewDiePie earned $4 million in 2013, which he has confirmed as mostly accurate.
To figure out PewDiePie’s net worth, you might ask, “How much does he make from YouTube”?
According to ad firm TubeMogul, YouTube paid $9.35 for every 1,000 views through 2012. After that, they paid about $7.60 per 1,000 views. With 11 billion views, you do the math.
PewDiePie’s net worth has grown steadily since 2010, clearing over $9 million a year since he started posting videos to YouTube.
PewDiePie appeared at the top of Forbes’ October 2015 list of the richest YouTube stars with a reported $12 million earned in 2015. Forbes commented that “[it] may well seem like an astronomical figure to a 25 year-old who just wants to make friends and play video games, but it’s a wildly insubstantial figure for the size of his audience and influence.”
Even though the media is obsessed with the YouTube star’s income, PewDiePie himself couldn’t care less about money. “We did raise a million dollars for charity, and very few articles picked up on that,” PewDiePie said in a video, “but here it is everywhere how much money I make. It seems like the whole world cares more about how much money I make than I do myself.”
Penguin Group released PewDiePie’s This Book Loves You, a parody of self-help books, on 20 October 2015. The book includes a collection of aphorisms, jokes, and wisdom, paired with visuals. Which will no doubt add to his net worth.
In the past, a comedian like him would have to work his way up through clubs and onto TV, possibly getting movie deals and building a career the slow way. YouTube has changed all that, taking a young man with a great deal of raw talent and rocketing him straight into fame and fortune almost literally overnight.
In December, PewDiePie vowed to delete his YouTube channel if he hits 50 million subscribers… Which he did. But rather than delete his major YouTube channel, he deleted an alternate account. He has vowed to delete his PewDiePie channel if he reaches 100 million, though, which is a landmark that will probably be impossible.
PewdDiePie is entering 2017 as not just the wealthiest YouTube content creator, but also the most popular (subscribed) star. Will YouTube’s new policies that affect where content shows up in a feed have a negative effect on PewDiePie in 2017? Probably not. He’s cast a diverse net.
It didn’t take long for PewdiePie to make waves in 2017. In mid-January, PewDiePie used the service Fiverr (which allows people to pay others five dollars for anything) to make a bespoke video featuring two Indian men dancing around and holding a sign that read “Death to All Jews.” Reaction the video was mixed, but the two men who he hired, who were incapable of reading English, were banned from the service–thereby likely losing an important part of their livelihood. PewdiePie has apologized for the incident, and called on Fiverr to unban the Indian men.
On Tuesday, February 14, PewDePie was dropped by Disney after some alleged anti-semetic remarks.