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PewDiePie tops Forbes' list of highest-paid YouTube stars

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Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Forbes has released its first-ever ranking of the top-earning YouTube stars, and Swedish video-gamer PewDiePie notched the top spot on the list.

The 25-year-old, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, brought in $12 million over the past year, the magazine estimates. His YouTube channel boasts almost 40 million subscribers who watch as he provides commentary while playing video games.

Tied for second place on the list, making $8.5 million apiece, are the comedy duo Smosh (a.k.a. Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla) and the Fine Brothers (Benny and Rafi Fine). Dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling came in fourth on the list with $6 million.

Forbes’ list measures earnings before subtracting taxes and management fees, and bases its numbers on data from Nielsen, IMDB, and other sources, along with interviews with agents, managers, lawyers, industry insiders, and the stars themselves. The estimates come from the year ending June 1, 2015.

Most of the earnings come from advertisements, Forbes notes, along with entries into television, movies, music, and books. Some have also launched their own product lines.

You can see the full list at Forbes’ website

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