Photograph by Dado Ruvic — Reuters
By Daniel Bukszpan
May 6, 2015

If you want to feel the merciless ravages of time as it has its way with you, simply ponder the fact that as of this year, YouTube is 10 years old. Founded in 2005 and sold to Google the following year for $1.7 billion, it’s been the go-to source for leaked movie trailers, musicians of dubious talent and kitten videos ever since.

It didn’t take long for people to figure out that YouTube was a great source of free publicity, but turning millions of YouTube views into actual, paying careers is another matter entirely. Just ask Rebecca Black, or Chris Crocker, or Tay Zonday, who all found this out the hard way.

Despite this brutal reality, a few people have beaten the odds and parlayed YouTube popularity into actual careers. With paychecks and everything! Fortune presents a list of these lucky luminaries, who jumped out of our computer screens and into our hearts.

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