PewDiePie’s $7.4 Million Salary Actually Highlights YouTube’s Low Wages

It's certainly a lot of money, but not as much you might think the face of one of the world's biggest entertainment companies would earn.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

News that PewDiePie, the number one YouTuber in the world and perpetually divisive figure within the so-called “gaming community,” made $7.4 million over the course of 2014 spread like wildfire earlier this week, with the majority of opinions falling within the realm of “how the fuck has this guy made so much money from shouting at video games?” However, conducting a few small mathematical equations indicates that while that certainly is a lot money, when the revenue PewDiePie drives in for YouTube and the site’s owners Google is taken into account, the salary he earns from it is actually much lower than would probably be expected.

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When I first heard the figure that had been landed on when it came to PewDiePie’s 2014 salary, I wasn’t as shocked as the majority appeared to be. Yes, that’s an awful lot of money, but considering he’s the face of one of the biggest entertainment enterprises in the entire world and is single-handedly responsible for tons of revenue for Google, it isn’t gigantic amounts of money when compared to what others in the entertainment industry receive. But while I didn’t consider doing the maths, gaming journalist Richard Stanton did, and dammit, I was right! Google are seemingly underpaying him:

Regardless of your thoughts on the videos he produces or whether he “deserves” the position he’s in (which he absolutely does, by the way – those who argue the case about how “anyone could do what he does” would presumably, y’know, do what he does if it was so easy and so lucrative), considering that he only makes around 20.6 cents for each subscriber over the duration of a year whilst being the most viewed and most subscribed channel on the entire website suggests how relatively poorly paid YouTubers are, in comparison with what their peers in the entertainment industry earn.

ZoellaBook

YouTuber Zoella complemented her earnings from Google’s AdSense program with a book deal.

YouTubers are told to sign an agreement with Google in which they aren’t allowed to disclose their earnings, but as we begin to see more content creators on the site turn to sponsorship deals and other such exploits in order to generate more cash, it all seems to suggest that Google’s salary alone may be comparatively lacking, or potentially even dwindling since the rise of the likes of AdBlock. Even PewDiePie is soon to release his own book, following in the path of fashion vlogger Zoella, and many YouTubers who don’t fall within the top 50 most-subscribed on the site have turned to Patreon, a crowdfunding website that will allow them to post videos without being reliant upon Google’s AdSense system.

While $7.4 million is certainly a lot of cash, considering that is the number generated by YouTube’s highest paid content creator it suggests that those lower down the rankings aren’t earning as much as many previously believed, and it’s understandable why many video makers are turning to alternate methods in order to generate more cash.