Olajide ‘KSI’ Olatunji is one of the original stars to come from YouTube, but he does so much more. He now has his fingers in many pies, with estimated annual earnings of $12m, so how exactly does he make so much money?
It’s hard not to bring up KSI when we speak about pioneers of YouTube, the Google-owned video platform that has enabled thousands of people to earn eye-watering amounts of money. From Call of Duty to FIFA, his roots are firmly planted in the world of gaming but his content and his avenues for earnings have expanded far beyond that.
Whether it’s boxing against other YouTube stars or featuring in a movie, he’s an influential figure that’s shown the growing community of creators that they need not be confined. Successful endeavours of this kind, as KSI has proven, can provide a significant financial upside for success.
So, how exactly does KSI make his money? Let’s take a look at his net worth and the activities he takes part in to achieve such a figure.
How KSI makes money
Content, sponsorships, and merchandise
Though he’s busy from other ventures, we’d be remiss to not start with how he got his career going: content. KSI has two channels, one with 22.5m subscribers and another with 12.1m. AdSense and brand deals are two obvious means of income for him.
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This is also the case with Sidemen, a collective he co-founded alongside six other prominent UK YouTubers and businessmen in their own right. He receives a cut, presumably one-seventh, of the revenue generated through the content produced on that channel too.
KSI even has his own flavor of G FUEL, an energy drink brand well-known in the gaming sphere. The Strawberry Banana brand of the drink is available for purchase, as well as a ‘blacked out’ shaker cup. He makes money through his work with Gamma Labs, the company behind G FUEL.
Just like with his content, he has multiple merchandise-related ventures on the go. Sidemen have a popular clothing range in which he’ll take a cut, KSI SUPPLY offers clothing related to his music (more on this later), and he even collaborated with British streetwear brand King when he was gearing up for a boxing match against YouTuber Logan Paul. There are plenty of options for fans when it comes to buying clothing related to him.
Music and other mediums
It was clear early on in KSI’s YouTube career that he had a passion for music. Making comedic rap songs on his channel became a staple for the YouTuber, and he truly dabbled in music when he released his first single in March 2015. Since then, he has gone on to release four EPs, 18 singles, and 28 music videos. His debut album debuted at #2 in the UK music charts back in 2020.
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With songs on streaming platforms and physical copies of projects available to buy, he’ll be making money on every play and purchase of his music. Not only that, he has a packed touring schedule for later in 2021 — this is how musicians make a good portion of their income normally, so it’s key to not underestimate the percentage of his net worth that derives directly from his songs.
KSI even launched his own record label in February 2021. The Online Takeover, the name of the label, is a nod to how he’s made most of his impact: online. He has only one artist signed at the moment, with Aiyana Lee serving as the first musician to be an official member of the label to date. Should he expand this venture and be able to replicate the success he’s seen in other avenues, he could make a fortune without having to directly work on the project day-to-day.
Another cornerstone of KSI’s brand is boxing. Kickstarting the growing trend of YouTubers taking part in the sport, he faced off against British creator Joe Weller before two bouts against Logan Paul. Some estimates claim that the potential earnings from his clash against Paul totalled £30-40m each, though he disputed the claims.
Books & films
Other pillars of the entertainment industry include books and movies, and KSI has a presence in both. In September 2015 he released his debut book ‘I Am A B*ll*nd,’ selling 6,311 in the first week to land #23 in the national overall sales chart. He even held a nation-wide book tour to promote the book.
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In 2016, he starred in a direct-to-video comedy film alongside Caspar Lee. ‘Laid in America’ wasn’t shown in theaters, instead finding its way online and on Blu-ray & DVD from the start. The official sales of the movie were never released but, considering his large online audience, he likely got paid a pretty penny for his involvement.
Documents obtained by The Mirror in 2020 revealed that he owned 12 flats and houses in big-money neighbourhoods. The publication described these activities as his “£10m property empire,” which may suggest that a lot of his net worth has been reinvested into properties in search of greater wealth.
What is KSI’s net worth?
As with most celebrities, the amount of money KSI has amassed over his career isn’t known for definite. According to a few sources, it’s estimated that he’s worth around £16m. Considering the amount of revenue streams he has established, and the portfolio of property he’s collected, this figure could well explode in the next couple of years.
While it’s easy to justify KSI’s activities as him simply grabbing money, he’s a prime example of chasing your dreams. He wanted to be a rapper, so he became a rapper. The same with boxing, and acting, and writing a book. While he is obviously making good money from all of these things, he’s clearly engaging in projects that he enjoys, and it’s working out pretty well.