YuyaYouTube is the new TV.
Since 2005, YouTube has become the de facto launchpad for the next generation of celebrities.
Stars like PewDiePie, Jenna Marbles, and Yuya have racked up millions of subscribers over the years through a direct relationship with their fans.
From comedians to gamers to vloggers of all kinds, YouTubers have generally built their followings outside of the control of media giants, even if they are now signing big deals with those companies. And there is power and independence in having that huge fan base.
To get a closer look into which stars rule YouTube, we looked at the SocialBlade rankings to see who had the most subscribers. We focused on independent YouTube stars, disregarding YouTube channels like mainstream music artists.
Here's how the new generation of YouTube stars stacks up in 2018:
Nina Godlewski, Harrison Jacobs, Maya Kosoff, and Nathan McAlone contributed to earlier versions of this post.No. 19: 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.
No. 18: KSI — 17.5 million subscribers
Subscribers: 17.5 million
As a teenager, Olajide Olatunji would play EA Sports' line of FIFA video games for hours on end in his parents' home. In 2009, he began uploading footage of himself playing and commentating to YouTube, under the username KSIOlajidebt: a combination of a "Halo" franchise clan, his first name, and British Telecom. His boisterous, goofy nature captured fans around the world.
No. 17: DanTDM — 17.7 million subscribers
Subscribers: 17.7 million
2017 estimated salary: $16.5 million
26-year-old Daniel Middleton, known as TheDiamondMinecart, is a popular YouTuber focused on the game Minecraft. Middleton posts daily reviews and gameplay videos. Last year, he had a world tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House. He was also 2017's highest-paid YouTube star, according to Forbes.
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