The Brief: TikTok's duet feature is fundamental to the way content spreads, evolves, and goes viral on the app.
TikTok’s most popular trends usually rise to the top because of their replicability and meme-ability. While its predecessor Vine relied on spontaneous, silly home-style videos, TikTok’s bread and butter are memes, viral trends, dance moves, and hashtag-based challenges. Users can copy the sound from one video, creating their own take on a dance routine or comedy bit, and videos are sorted by sound, hashtag, creator, and the trends with which they’re associated. Thus, much of the material on TikTok is made-up of remixes and different renditions of the same original content. The TikTok Duet tool is central to this feature as it allows creators to replicate and parody videos with a split-screen duet effect.
In TikTok duets, creators may react to an original video, do their best to replicate it, make fun of it, or interact with the visuals as if they were next to each other IRL. According to the app’s metrics, videos associated with the hashtag #duet have been viewed over 756 trillion times.
The duet tool allows users to engage with other creators through an indirect collab, sometimes giving each other shoutouts and sharing clout. As there are no limitations on who can duet someone else’s video, this can also lead to TikTokers making fun of each other’s videos, like with the “I’m already Tracer” meme.
While TikTok duets can become repetitive, they also pose an opportunity for creators to add their own personal flair to a meme or trend, contributing to the spread and virality that is signature to TikTok.
A TikToker tries this claw machine trick:
@edwardcenteno#duet with lyssynoel OMG IT WORKED😳😳 SHARE! #hack #arcadehack #arcade #clawmachine #lifehack #hacks #trend #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #fy #viral♬ Birthday Suit – Cosmo Sheldrake
Chonker vs. Kitten:
@madalynsterne#duet with tularrr mine was a little harder to hold … #foryou♬ Nanana Remix – tiafuentes212
@bigmamaz#duet with tylerhigley08 idk why y’all want me to do impossible duets 🙄 at least I was up for a quick second 😂 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #requested♬ Originalton – lisaaaa.mary
Duets consist of two or more videos and can lead to long chains like this one:
@chandler_tamor#duet woahryann I got tagged in this way too many times, had to join in #it #itcosplay #pennywise #foryou #fyp #foru♬ Birthday Suit – Cosmo Sheldrake
These interactive videos showcase the creativity of many duets:
@jackie.mcjackfaceno need to be so dramatic you were just shaking my milk. Thanks so much though it’s delicious #duet with lkaine #fyp #foryou #foru #foryoupage #viral♬ original sound – lotionluver
@jenniferrose1991#duet with happiestnat sorry about that♬ original sound – happiestnat