MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, had a very, very good 2021 — the YouTube maestro pulled down $54 million in gross revenue last year, more than any YouTube creator in history, according to new estimates by Forbes magazine.
Coming in behind MrBeast was Jake Paul, the controversial YouTuber/boxer, who earned an estimated $45 million last year; game vlogger/comedian/podcaster Markiplier, with $38 million; and longtime comedy duo Rhett & Link, whose “Good Mythical Morning” talk show on YouTube this week celebrated its 10-year anniversary, at $30 million.
MrBeast, 23, is famous for his big-money giveaways, stunts and charitable initiatives — including his viral reenactment of Netflix hit “Squid Game,” which awarded the winner a $446,000 prize. His YouTube channel currently has more than 88 million subscribers. Donaldson heads a 50-employee company that last year launched MrBeast Burger, a virtual restaurant chain, and encompasses Beast Interactive Games (which created his popular “Finger on the App” contests).
In 2021, Donaldson took home the YouTube Streamy Awards creator of the year trophy. He also teamed with YouTube creator Mark Rober for #TeamSeas, a fundraising initiative to raise $30 million to remove trash from bodies of water around the world.
The top 10 highest-paid YouTube stars of 2021, according to Forbes estimates:
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 Forbes estimates measure earnings from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021. According to the publication, revenue figures are pretax and fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. The estimates are based on data from Captiv8, SocialBlade and Pollstar as well as “interviews with industry insiders.”
Separately, last week Forbes released its ranking of the top-earning TikTok stars of 2021, led by sisters Charli D’Amelio ($17.5 million) and Dixie D’Amelio ($10 million).