Digital asset management (DAM) systems emerged in the 1990s to help publishers and media manage the digitization and retrieval, workflows, and distribution of digital assets such as photographs, videos, animations, and music. Most systems were complex and custom built. Canto and XiNet were early commercial vendors. By the late 1990s most large organizations needed much of the same capability for managing digital brand assets, training materials, and websites, and document management systems and early content management systems didn’t provide much, if any, of the required functionality. The broadening of the market to corporate applications led to additional digital asset management system vendors such as Artesia, North Plains, and MediaBeacon. While larger content management, or digital experience platform, vendors have acquired DAM vendors, the vendor market landscape has continued to grow.

Media asset management (MAM) systems are a type DAM system, but typically focused more on audio visual production.