YouTubers are raking in massive profits destroying objects from ping pong balls to Lamborghinis.
Videos of people crushing, sanding, or otherwise demolishing everyday items are wildly popular.
Ad revenue from YouTube and Facebook clips can be upwards of $650,000 for popular creators.
Maybe you've seen them - videos circulating around YouTube or Facebook of massive hydraulic presses crushing cars or industrial sanders grinding household objects into dust, with titles like "What Happens When Shredder Vs The Strongest And Everything Else" and "Top 1000 Best Shredding Moments | Satisfying ASMR Compilation."
These wildly popular clips, garnering millions of viewers across thousands of assorted channels, are making some content creators rich as they demolish everyday items from watermelons and children's toys to luxury items - including PS5 consoles and a $200,000 sports car.
Lauri Vuohensilta runs the popular Hydraulic Press Channel, which has 3.79 million subscribers at the time of publication. His channel, which started seven years ago, features clips of Vuohensilta using his family shop's industrial press to demonstrate what happens to sponges, rubber band balls, crayons, and even a real human tooth when they are exposed to the tons of pressure exerted by the machine.
"It's surprising how long the tires retain their air pressure when being crushed and deformed," one reader's comment on his channel read.
"Something about casual destruction and the embrace of entropy is just… so alluring," another wrote. "I mean - I like when hydraulic press makes lock go squish, hahaha."
Vuohensilta told The Wall Street Journal he made $650,000 last year from ad revenue on his videos, which can receive anywhere from 50,000 to 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 as his YouTube persona Mr. Beast, earned $54 million in 2021, the most of any YouTuber in history. Though his channel is not dedicated to destroying objects like Vuohensilta's, Donaldson recently released a video smashing a cherry red Lamborghini between a brightly striped hydraulic press that earned him 107 million views.
It's unclear how much he earned from the 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, the parent company of YouTube, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Destroying objects for YouTube fame is not a new phenomenon. One massively 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 more than 16 years ago. The clips, demonstrating the blender's power, ranged from blending half-cooked chicken with a can of Coca-Cola to destroying a new iPhone X, which sold for roughly $1,000 at the time.
One calculation by Creators Handbook estimates creators paid to destroy things on their channels average approximately $2,750 in ad revenue per million views. With channels like Vuohensilta and Donaldson reaching upwards of 25 million views in some cases, the cash flow around a single video can be upwards of $65,000. Estimating that there are roughly 100 channels releasing 5 videos each month that hit 10 million views each, these types of channels could rake in an approximate $165,000,000 per year - before counting outlier cases where videos go exceptionally viral.
While the creators rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars destroying everyday items in the name of entertainment, some face criticism for being seen as wasteful or materialistic.
"When I ask digital influencers what their expertise is in, the answer is almost always 'lifestyle,'" Carla Abdalla, who teaches at Brazil's Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation and studies consumer behavior, told Wired. "When I ask them which kind of lifestyle, they talk about the consumption of designer clothes, gourmet restaurants, high-tech gadgets, trips around the world, and so on. Their expertise is the consumption."
Even despite the public perception that the videos may be wasteful or excessive, many viewers can't seem to look away.
"There's something in the human brain that says 'oh my god, there's so many of these things. There's so much of this thing. I've got to see that,'" YouTuber Anthony Padilla said in a 2019 video criticizing so-called YouTube "junklords," who make videos with unnecessarily massive quantities of items to get clicks.
"Watching someone waste a whole bunch of money doing something ridiculous with a whole bunch of things is fascinating."