A YouTuber earns $650,000 a year recording himself smashing everything from PlayStation consoles to human teeth. Say hello to the estimated $165 million destructive economy.
YouTubers rake in massive profits by destroying items ranging from ping pong balls to Lamborghinis.
Videos of people crushing, sanding or tearing down everyday objects are hugely popular.
Ad revenue from YouTube and Facebook clips can reach over $650,000 for popular creators.
Maybe you’ve seen them before – videos circulating on YouTube or Facebook showing huge hydraulic presses crushing cars or industrial sanders grinding household objects to dust, with titles like “What Happens When Shredder Vs The Strongest And Everything Else” and “Top 1000 Best Shredding Moments” | Satisfactory ASMR compilation.”
These hugely popular clips, amassing millions of viewers across thousands of diverse channels, make some content creators rich by tearing down everyday objects, from watermelons and children’s toys to luxury items, including PS5 consoles and a car. $200,000 sports.
Lauri Vuohensilta runs the popular Hydraulic News Channel, which has 3.79 million subscribers at press time. His channel, which started seven years ago, features clips of Vuohensilta using the industrial press from his family store to show what happens to sponges, rubber band balls, pencils and even a real human tooth when they are exposed to the tons of pressure exerted by the machine.
“It’s amazing how long tires retain their air pressure when crushed and deformed,” read a reader’s comment on his channel.
“Something about the occasional destruction and embrace of entropy is just…so alluring,” another wrote. “I mean – I like when the hydraulic press makes the lock smash, hahaha.”
Vuohensilta told the Wall Street Journal that he made $650,000 last year from advertising revenue from his videos, which can receive between 50,000 and 26 million views – like a video where he tested whether he could fold a piece of paper more than 7 times using the press.
Vuohensilta did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Jimmy Donaldson, better known by his YouTube persona Mr. Beast, earned $54 million in 2021, the most of any YouTuber in history. Although his channel isn’t dedicated to destroying objects like Vuohensilta’s, Donaldson recently posted a video smashing a cherry-red Lamborghini between a brightly scratched hydraulic press that garnered him 107 million views.
It’s unclear how much he earned from video, but Donaldson has previously said he spends $8 million a month creating his elaborate videos and promoting his businesses.
Representatives for Donaldson and Google, YouTube’s parent company, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Destroying items for YouTube fame is not a new phenomenon. An extremely popular channel, an infomercial for BlendTec blenders called “Will It Blend?” debuted just two years after the launch of the video hosting platform itself and quickly defined the genre by putting its title question to the test.
BlendTec CEO Tom Dickson became known for his willingness to put anything in a blender over 16 years ago. The clips, demonstrating the power of the blender, ranged from mixing half-cooked chicken with a can of Coca-Cola to destroying a new iPhone X, which was selling for around $1,000 at the time.
A calculation from the Creators Handbook estimates that creators paid to destroy stuff on their channels average about $2,750 in ad revenue per million views. With channels like Vuohensilta and Donaldson reaching over 25 million views in some cases, the cash flow around a single video can reach over $65,000. Assuming that there are around 100 channels playing 5 videos each month that reach 10 million views each, these types of channels could make around $165,000,000 a year – before counting the outlier cases where the videos go exceptionally viral.
While creators rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars destroying everyday objects in the name of entertainment, some are being criticized for being considered wasteful or materialistic.
“When I ask digital influencers what their expertise is, the answer is almost always ‘lifestyle,'” Carla Abdalla, who teaches at the Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation in Brazil and studies consumer behavior, told Wired. “When I ask them about lifestyle, they talk about consuming designer clothes, fine dining, high-tech gadgets, traveling around the world, etc. Their expertise is consumption.”
Even despite the public perception that the videos can be unnecessary or excessive, many viewers don’t seem to look away.
“There’s something in the human brain that says ‘oh my god, there are so many of these things. There are so many things like that. Gotta see this,'” YouTuber Anthony Padilla said in a 2019 video criticizing so-called YouTube “junklords,” who make videos with unnecessarily massive amounts of material to get clicks.
“Watching someone waste a whole bunch of money doing something ridiculous with a whole bunch of stuff is fascinating.”
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