Not making enough money from Spotify streams? You’re in the wrong game.
You may not have heard of the dubstep violin genre but it’s a very real thing on YouTube, racking up millions of views for its biggest star: Lindsey Stirling. You might not have heard of Stirling either, but according to Forbes’ list of the world’s top-earning YouTube stars in 2015, she’s made $6 million from her combination of EDM and classical violin, despite not having a record deal.
Stirling began posting videos of herself on YouTube in 2007 after failing to be signed by the majors, but it’s Stirling who’s laughing now. While the labels are now desperate to sign her she doesn’t need them, raking in millions from YouTube ad revenue, direct music sales, sponsorship and live performances.
Stirling is the only musician on the list, which also features video game commentator PewDiePie, makeup artist Michelle Phan and comedian Lilly Singh. “It’s a very loyal fan base that wants you to succeed because they found you,” Stirling believes. “It wasn’t some big radio station or record label that shoved art down someone’s throat.”