Staff writer Debbie Herrera ’18 takes a look at a new career path that until recently did not exist. What does it mean to be “employed” by YouTube?
Remember the days where YouTube was a simple video-sharing website filled with low quality videos filmed by a cheap, grainy webcam? That was only a decade ago.
Now, 11 years since one of the most used social platforms was created, YouTube has become a main source of income for some lucky and dedicated “YouTubers.” The idea of being able to quite literally quit your day job to instead devote your time to making YouTube videos and receive more than enough money from it to pay the bills was unfathomable over a decade ago.
During the summer of 2006, a little over a year after the website was created, YouTube was the fastest growing site online. According to data from Hitwise, a web measurement site, in July of 2006, YouTube was — and still is – the lead in video search with more than 100 million videos viewed per day and more than 65,000 videos uploaded daily at the time. These numbers, however, have increased astronomically since the last 10 years.
Due to YouTube’s fast-growing popularity and usefulness, it is not hard to believe that people would begin to think of ways to successfully make a revenue from it. Numerous videos from a wide range of categories can be found including beauty gurus, chefs, video game commentators, dancers and comedians of all different ages and backgrounds.
So how do YouTubers make money from simply filming and uploading a video? The money actually comes from the ads that we have to miserably sit through and watch while waiting for the actual video to start. Videos also make even more money when they are sponsored and YouTubers advertise or use a product that a company has given them.
However, just like any other job, some YouTubers are paid more than others depending on content and popularity. The amount of views a YouTuber gets per videos and the amount of subscribers they have affects how much they are paid. According to Maya Kachroo-Levine at Bustle, at least 1,000 views gets a YouTuber about $1.50.
Although this may seem like a very minimal amount, some YouTube stars are now becoming multimillionaires all before the age of 30. Many of the highest-paid YouTube stars are either video game commentators or players. In fact, YouTube’s highest paid star is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg, better known by his YouTube name PewDiePie. Kjelberg is a Swedish video game commentator who has broken plenty of YouTube growth records with his fast-growing fan base.
With 23.9 million subscribers and 3.69 billion total views, Kjelberg has an estimated yearly income of $825,000-$8.47 million after YouTube’s 45 percent cut, according to Harrison Jacobs of Business Insider. Other YouTubers on the list of highest-paid YouTubers that Madeline Berg at Forbes compiled are Smosh, a comedy duo, who made $8.5 million in addition to a movie deal; Lindsey Stirling the dancing violinist who made $6 million and released two albums, has a book deal and is now developing a touring career; Michelle Phan, a beauty guru with her own makeup line and beauty subscription service, one of the more well known stars but at the lower end of the list making $3 million; and Rosanna Pansino, a self-trained pastry chef who made $2.5 million and has written a cookbook.
No, not every person who films themselves playing video games or doing their makeup instantly becomes famous, even though everyone secretly wish it could happen to them. Everyday, more and more people, particularly younger people, try to become the next YouTube sensation.
If Justin Bieber could do it, why can’t you? Although the details of a YouTube career do make you think: is this career path too good to be true? How long will it last in this ever-changing, social media and tech-ridden world?
By: Debbie Herrera ’18