No. 18: Epic Rap Battles (ERB) — 14.2 million subscribers
Subscribers: 14.2 million
Epic Rap Battles of History is one of the most successful YouTube series of all time. What started as a live improv skit by two friends has become an online sensation. The premise is simple: Founders Peter Shukoff (NicePeter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLloyd) pick two figures from history or pop culture and imagine what it would be like if they faced off in a rap battle. The videos are highly entertaining, with characters as varied as Darth Vader, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Chuck Norris verbally battling one another in full costume.
Seán William McLoughlin is a 27-year-old Irish game-based YouTube star who initially came to fame when PewDiePie mentioned him in a video in 2013. Jacksepticeye calls himself the "most energetic video-game commentator on YouTube" and has trademark bright green hair.
No. 15: Fine Brother (FBE) — 15 million subscribers
Subscribers: 15 million
Brooklyn natives Benny and Rafi Fine are two online producer/writer/directors who created the extremely successful React video series. In React's various iterations (Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React), TheFineBros show viral videos to subjects and film their reactions. Many consider TheFineBros to be two of the first YouTube stars, but they now have a full-service production company that spans movies and TV as well. In 2016, they were involved in a controversy over trying to copyright the "react" video form, which drew widespread backlash and led to a campaign to unsubscribe from the duo's channel.
As a teenager, Olajide "KSI" Olatunji played 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. 13: Dude Perfect — 16.2 million subscribers
Subscribers: 16.2 million
"Dude Perfect" is a channel from twins Cory and Coby Cotton and three other "best buddies" from Texas A&M, all former high school basketball players. They do sports tricks and comedy, some of which makes fun of sports stereotypes.
No. 12: Markiplier — 16.8 million subscribers
Subscribers: 16.8 million
2016 estimated salary: $5.5 million
Mark Fischbach, better known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style that involves a bit of swearing and a lot of emotion. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well.
"I want to push myself into music and acting — more traditional media stuff," he told Variety last year. "If someone wants to make a movie and have me in it, I want to make sure I have the skill set to do it properly."
Samuel de Luque is a wildly popular Spanish YouTuber who has become known for his voiceovers of gameplay videos for "Minecraft," "Saint's Row," and "Battlefield." His signature style is to create elaborate narratives and histories for the characters in his video-game videos to make them "like a movie."
On his about page, he says subscribing to his channel makes you risk falling into his madness.
No. 9: Whinderssonnunes — 17.7 million subscribers
Subscribers: 17.7 million
Whinderssonnunes, 22-year-old Whindersson Nunes, is a Brazilian YouTube star who does comedy and vlogs, and often appears shirtless. He does parodies, songs, movie reviews, and videos about his daily life. He started making videos at 15.
No. 8: Yuya — 17.8 million subscribers
Subscribers: 17.8 million
Yuya is a 23-year-old Mexican beauty vlogger. She posts makeup, hair, and other beauty tutorials, and even has a secondary channel where she talks about her day-to-day life outside of her tutorials. Many of the videos on her secondary channel star her brother Sergio. Yuya's beauty-tutorial channel has brought her so much fame that she's been featured in Vogue and on Mexican television.
Fernanfloo, Luis Fernando Flores, is a YouTube star from El Salvador known for his gameplay videos and wacky antics. His signature color is green, and his dogs sometimes make appearances in his videos.
No. 5: VanossGaming — 20.2 million subscribers
Subscribers: 20.2 million
VanossGaming (or Vanoss) is the YouTube name of 24-year-old Canadian Evan Fong. While not much is known about Vanoss, he posts comedy videos that show him playing various video games. What sets his videos apart is the quality of his editing. He frequently posts montages that compress his hours of gaming into one compact video of funny moments.
Smosh is a comedy duo of YouTube veterans Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. Smosh was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo's slapstick comedy videos that parody video games and pop culture. They have shown no signs of slowing down, and now run seven channels.
No. 3: elrubiusOMG — 23.5 million subscribers
Subscribers: 23.5 million
Ruben Doblas Gundersen, better known on YouTube as "elrubiusOMG," is a 27-year-old Spanish YouTuber. He's the most followed Spanish YouTube star. Like other popular YouTubers, elrubius is a gamer who does walk-throughs, reviews, and more, peppered with funny commentary. He published an interactive book called "Troll" in 2014.
No. 2: Germán Garmendia (HolaSoyGerman.) — 31.2 million subscribers
Subscribers: 31.2 million
2016 estimated salary: $5.5 million
Chilean YouTuber Germán Garmendia is Latin America's biggest YouTube star. The comedian and musician has two channels in the top 20. He released a book in 2016, titled "#Chupaelperro." He became famous with "Las Cosas Obvias De La Vida" ("The Obvious Things of Life").
Besides HolaSoyGerman., Garmendia has another YouTube channel called JuegaGerman with 18 million subscribers that is focused on video games.
No. 1: PewDiePie — 54.1 million subscribers
Subscribers: 54.1 million
2016 estimated salary: $15 million
In his YouTube videos, PewDiePie is boisterous and goofy, playing video games and swearing up a storm. PewDiePie — the YouTube name of 27-year-old Swede Felix Kjellberg — has used his charisma and close relationship to subscribers (who he calls "bros") to build a lucrative career around his YouTube output. But PewDiePie came into a negative spotlight recently after a Wall Street Journal report described anti-Semitic messages in his videos, leading Disney and YouTube to cut direct business ties with him (though he hasn't actually been banned from YouTube).
PewDiePie apologized for taking a joke too far, but maintained his right to joke about any topic, and flipped a middle finger to the media in a response video. Since then, PewDiePie's subscriber count has only gone up, and he has said he's excited about the new opportunities afforded him as an independent creator.