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Why Are YouTubers Quitting?

Earlier this year, in June of 2020, news broke out that YouTube star Jenna Marbles would be quitting YouTube. In her last upload, she explains concerning controversial past videos, “I’m just a person trying to navigate the world the same way you are … I’m just trying my best.”

From an outsider perspective, it may be difficult to understand why YouTubers would willingly quit what seems like a great job and opportunity. It is particularly strange to witness YouTubers who make a substantial living on the platform quit without explanation. Uploading a couple of videos a week seems easy enough, right? Believe it or not, as with any job, complications can surely arise for any YouTube “employee”.

YouTubers essentially make their own schedule, their own guidelines for their channels, and even maintain and appease their own clientele. While the job seems simple enough, what a YouTuber’s audience sees is quite different from what happens behind the scenes. The clear-cut question stands: Why are YouTubers quitting?

Why are Professional YouTubers Quitting?

If you’re a regular YouTube participant, you have probably noticed the decline of famous YouTubers that you remember from the beginning. Possibly, some of your favorite stars are dropping off of the platform. Famous YouTube stars resigning is not merely a new phenomenon but has been happening over the past years.

The average annual salary of a YouTuber with 1 million subscribers is around $90,000. While this is a significant amount and could easily sustain a comfortable lifestyle, the highest-paid YouTubers make well over that amount. With a comfortable salary and the ability to be your own boss, it seems that only a planet-sized problem would lead a star to quit.

YouTube Stars Who Quit

George Miller

George Miller, better known by his stage name Joji, was the creator of a successful YouTube channel known as Filthy Frank. In December of 2017, Miller tweeted that he would be retiring from Filthy Frank as he no longer enjoyed creating the content, and the impersonation of his characters, unfortunately, led to seizures. His channel was left with 7.35 million subscribers and over 1 billion views. He is now pursuing a career in music.

Lucas Cruikshank

Lucas Cruikshank, known online as FRED, was one of the most popular channels on YouTube and the first to reach 1 million subscribers on the platform. After Cruikshank decided to open his channel to family-friendly uploads in 2015, which was deemed unsuccessful, it was conclusively abandoned. Although the channel has been inactive for over five years, 2.9 million fans remain subscribed.

Jesse Ridgway

Jesse Ridgway, known online as McJuggerNuggets, admitted that he would be quitting YouTube on January 1, 2020, because of the platform’s unwillingness to maintain care for his well-being. McJuggerNuggets still holds over 4 million subscribers.


Kyle Myers and Keith Ratliff were the original creators of YouTube channel FPSRussia, whose content included explosives and firearms destroying different objects. Ratliff, unfortunately, passed away in 2013. With nearly 7 million subscribers, FPSRussia stopped uploading videos in 2016. Myers was ultimately convicted of drug possession in 2017 and served two months in prison. After his release, he began a popular podcast.


The gaming channel Machinima, owned by multiple people, ceased video uploads in 2019. The Machinima company ultimately switched all of its YouTube content to private when the company announced its shutdown, including all operations. Machinima left behind at least 11 million subscribers.

Luis Alvarado

Luis Alvarado, the YouTube gamer and creator of Fernanfloo, announced that he would be quitting YouTube in April of 2018. Fernanfloo is still currently the 23rd most-subscribed channel with 32.8 million subscribers and 7 billion views. Alvarado explained that he was bored of making gaming videos and had moved his content over to Twitch.

Charles Trippy

Charles Trippy currently holds the record of the longest-running video blog series at over 3,600 uploads. Following his marriage to Allie Wesenberg, his channel was changed to Charles and Allie and grew to 1.42 million subscribers. As of 2019, Charles decided to stop uploading due to the birth of his first child and hoping to spend more time with his family.

Michael Martin

Michael Martin was the creator of the YouTube channel DaddyOFive. After reaching 750,000 subscribers and 176 million views, the channel announced its discontinuance of uploads in 2017. The government, alongside YouTube, officially shut DaddyOFive down in July of 2018 because of the controversy stirred up by fellow YouTube stars concerning child abuse on the channel. 


SevenSuperGirls was a YouTube channel showcasing skits done by 11-18-year-old girls. The channel’s last upload was in August of 2018 as the owner, Ian Rylett, was arrested and convicted of sexual exploitation. All of the coinciding channels owned by Ian Rylett were officially deleted on March 12, 2019. At its time of deletion, SevenSuperGirls had 9.5 million subscribers and over 5.6 billion views.

Bart Baker

Bart Baker, founder and creator of a YouTube parody channel officially switched to the Chinese market, due to YouTube’s demonetization of various YouTube channels, in 2019. Once YouTube began prioritizing more family-friendly videos, Baker lost money, leading to his choice to quit the platform. Though inactive, his channel is still accessible, with a remaining 10 million subscribers.


Calvin Vail, known online as LeafyIsHere, was officially terminated by YouTube in August of 2020 due to violations of YouTube’s terms of service on cyberbullying and harassment. He regularly posts his rants on Twitter, while occasionally uploading gaming videos to Twitch. Before LeafyIsHere’s eventual termination, the channel reached 4.9 million subscribers.

Problems with YouTube

Most of the reasons are vastly different behind each former YouTuber leaving, from scandal to boredom. However, many stars could agree on specific wrongdoings by the company and the hardship of satisfying millions of subscribers.


A large reason that could potentially lead to many YouTube stars’ decisions to quit is YouTube’s discouraging control over money made on videos. YouTube advertising is governed by Google AdSense – an ad generator that helps online content earn money through monetization. Most YouTube stars earn a significant portion of their income through this source.

However, an article written by The Verge describes what was known to the world of YouTube creators as the “adpocolypse”. In 2017, one of the platform’s top stars, PewDiePie, uploaded a controversial video which ultimately led to various major ad companies pulling their ads from the site.

To address the problem, YouTube created a set of guidelines stating that they would begin “taking aggressive action … on this content through age-gating, demonetization and even the removal of channels where necessary.” The focus placed on family-friendly content has led to the demonetization of thousands of videos – many stars’ primary form of income leaving them high and dry. While many stars have been understanding of YouTube’s demonetization, the inability to create the same content and maintain a living as they always have has been frustrating for them all the same.

The Plateau

In a video uploaded by PewDiePie in June of 2018, he describes the difficulty of being a famed YouTube star and maintaining a large following by making the same content. He says, “Let’s say you’re a YouTuber … You’ve finally got recognized. You’ve finally got an audience. You’ve finally got a lot of money … but then, people that already watch your channel are starting to lose interest. Which is inevitable for everyone that makes videos.”

PewDiePie – being one of YouTube’s most-subscribed channels – is easily a credible source when it comes to the plateau that all YouTubers hit once their channel booms, or once they’ve reached a substantial following. He explains that, regardless of feeling down when your channel might not be doing as great as it used to be doing, the façade must remain.

Not Only A Job but A Lifestyle

The job of a YouTuber is to sustain an energetic and happy persona. PewDiePie states that, as a YouTube star, “If you take a break, your numbers will fall.”

While the job of a YouTube star might seem simple enough, the lifestyle can easily become exhausting. To stay in good standing with viewers, a creator is obligated to post videos regularly. While the platform gains more and more creators every day, that might require posting videos more often than mentally and emotionally possible. The consistent effort put into a channel may be more manageable for some creators, but others might struggle to meet the demands of their audience members.

Why Is the Average YouTuber Quitting?

While the career of a professional YouTuber has its particular issues, being an average YouTuber comes with its own set of obstacles.

A Loss of Motivation

Starting on YouTube isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Many people want to begin creating on the platform because of the millions of dollars that are made by famous YouTubers every day. It’s a tempting offer that YouTube hands out – create videos, make money. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Most creators don’t make much money until they reach a significant number of subscribers and are generating a high number of views on every single video. Alongside that, the more uploads a person has on their channel, the more popular they become. This is a difficult task for many beginning YouTubers.

The effort that it takes for YouTubers to grow a substantial audience may easily cause burnout, especially before the money starts rolling in. Although it takes motivation to begin creating on YouTube, working hard for little-to-no pay is rarely ever a top priority and can shortly lead to a loss of motivation to continue uploading videos.

The Competition

Although it might be laborious to make a mark on the community, YouTube makes becoming a creator a simple task. All that is needed is an account, and anyone can upload videos to the platform as they wish. The number of creators that take their chances at a YouTube channel grows more and more each day. With that in mind, many channels struggle to make themselves known while there is a sea of fellow YouTuber’s hoping to grow their channels as well.

Additionally, it is easy to become discouraged as an average YouTuber when another channel has millions of views. The competition can take a toll on many content creators, causing many people to quit before reaching stardom.

YouTube’s Algorithm

YouTube is consistently recommending the next trending video, usually whatever Google finds the most engaging – a trick used to keep viewers on the platform for hours at a time.

Because of YouTube’s behind-the-scenes system, material is spread far and wide through YouTube’s recommendations.

Uploading daily content – sometimes more than once a day – to remain relevant to the YouTube algorithm is difficult for anyone. Casual YouTubers are typically unable to keep up with professionals YouTubers, as famed content naturally receives more views. The algorithm makes debuting in the world of YouTube in this day and age rather grueling.


There is no cookie-cutter list of reasons that cause a YouTuber’s choice to step down. Famous creators may face different issues than the average YouTuber and vice versa. Regardless of the number of subscribers or views, being a YouTuber is not merely an automatic walk on the red carpet. As with any demanding career, the cons of YouTube creation are manageable to many, while for others, the challenges of the job may not be worth holding onto.

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  • Ashtin is an American freelance writer and aspiring editor. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently studying editing at the University of Chicago. Alongside her freelance work, Ashtin pursues the hobby of creative writing. She has a regular yoga practice, a deep love for mystery novels, and a fascination for all things true crime.

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