MrBeast Just Conquered YouTube — What’s Next?

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Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson has officially been crowned as the most-subscribed channel on YouTube, surpassing Indian music label T-Series, which has held the top spot since 2019.

T-Series currently sits at 266 million subscribers, while MrBeast boasts 271 million on his channel, a huge accomplishment for an individual YouTuber.

MrBeast celebrated his achievement on X (Twitter), joking that Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg had finally been “avenged,” a reference to Pewdiepie’s viral, controversial quest to overtake T-Series.

While Pewdiepie held the title of most-subscribed channel for a total of 6 years, the YouTuber was overtaken by T-Series in 2019, sparking concerns that YouTube culture was shifting away from individual creators and toward corporate-sponsored content.

MrBeast has now claimed the crown, through viral video stunts and cash giveaways, sponsored by branding deals and partnerships.

How Did MrBeast Gain So Many YouTube Subscribers?

MrBeast achieved his current dominance over YouTube through sheer perseverance — in an interview with Forbes, the YouTuber made it clear that cracking YouTube’s algorithm requires a herculean amount of time and effort, more of a lifestyle than a job.

MrBeast said that he had spent several years as a teenager “obsessively studying YouTube” and revealed that his current day-to-day life is essentially consumed by his YouTube channel, jokingly comparing his entrepreneurial drive to a “cocaine” addiction.

In a 2023 appearance on the Colin and Samir podcast, MrBeast admitted that his success had come at a heavy cost.

“People shouldn’t be like me. I don’t have a life, I don’t have a personality,” he said.

MrBeast is constantly measuring his analytics, always seeking to improve click rate and viewer retention, down to measuring the brightness of a video thumbnail, or swapping out his standard “soyface” for an AI-generated smile.

For MrBeast, it’s all about the numbers — quite literally. After years of creating content, the YouTuber rose to fame in 2017 after posting a video showing him counting to 100,000 over 40 hours, gaining tens of millions of views.

From there, MrBeast focused on eye-catching spectacle and massive giveaways; the YouTuber has gifted cars, houses and handfuls of cash to delighted participants.

Since that historic counting video, MrBeast has played into the contrast between poverty and opulence, whether he is handing over thousands of dollars to homeless people or recreating Squid Game in real life (like Netflix, MrBeast appears to have missed the point of the original series).

MrBeast’s exploits have sometimes proved controversial, with the YouTuber accused of exploiting the working class for views, and clout-chasing under the guise of philanthropy.

In certain online spaces, MrBeast has become something of a meme, his distinctive grin viewed as the all-consuming face of capitalism.

MrBeast’s brand might be best understood via the conclusion of his famous “mountaineering” video, in which he and his team supposedly climb to the top of a mountain in Antarctica.

Upon reaching the peak, MrBeast celebrated by planting a flag in the name of Shopify, his brand partnership.

What’s Next For MrBeast?

MrBeast might have conquered the heights of YouTube, but does his appeal stretch beyond the video-sharing platform?

Jimmy Donaldson is about to find out, having signed a deal with Amazon Prime Video to star in a game show titled Beast Games, which aims to “become the biggest reality competition series ever,” featuring “1000 contestants competing for a $5 million dollar cash prize,” reportedly the biggest payout in television history.

MrBeast also has several businesses outside of YouTube, such as Feastables, his chocolate bar company, which he uses his YouTube channel to promote.

At one point, Donaldson was promoting his virtual fast-food chain MrBeast Burger, but has since sued the dining company that runs the restaurant, alleging that the “revolting” burgers risk damaging his reputation.

It remains to be seen if MrBeast’s questionable charisma can thrive beyond the pull of YouTube’s algorithm — Donaldson has openly admitted that he sees “personality” as a limitation for growth, that opening up on-camera comes with the risk of being disliked.

After all, MrBeast’s videos aren’t really about him — they’re about what he’s doing, the money he’s spending, wasting, or giving away — it’s all about the numbers.

Time will tell if MrBeast’s record-shattering numbers can translate to streaming.

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