The click track originated in early sound movies, where marks were made on the film itself to indicate exact timings for musicians to synchronise their recordings to the moving image. It can be thought of as a recording of a metronome in that is serves a similar purpose.

The invention of the click track is sometimes given to Carl Stalling, although other sources have given it to Max Steiner and Scott Bradley.

The click track was sufficiently useful as a synchronisation tool that it became part of standard recording technology, whether for films, radio or other sound recording and the click track took one of the tracks on a multi-track tape recorder.

By the late 20th century, particularly in the realm of synthesizers and digital recording, the click track became computerised and synchronising different instruments became more complex, at which point the click track was supported or replaced by SMPTE time code.