In the computer world, media asset management (MAM) is a general term that refers to any function a computer user performs in the process of managing media. Media asset management is a type of digital asset management (DAM). In common use, media asset management can mean the same thing as DAM, but it technically refers specifically to management tasks involving media file types, which usually include audio, video, and images.
Managing media assets involves a common set of tasks performed by most computer users. Often, media asset management tasks are accomplished through the file explorer function in the user's computer operating system. Some media playing software programs such as Miro®, iTunes® and Foobar2000® offer limited media asset management capabilities in the form of organizing and categorizing libraries. Functions designed for rating and categorizing files, like those in iTunes®, perform tasks that aid in the management of media.
Other software is designed mainly to help a user organize and browse media. Google Picasa® gives users a means of organizing images and preparing them for use. Google Docs® gives users space for creating, uploading, and downloading many files, including media files.
Another important function of managing media is backing up the media. Backing up the media means saving it to a separate place where it will not be lost if the current system or storage drive goes haywire. Though media file backups can be done manually, some software programs back up files automatically.
Digital asset management can also be known as data asset management, and also involves tasks like renaming, organizing, and categorizing data. It is a more general term than media asset management because it encompasses management tasks for any type of digital data, not just media files. A user is also maintaining media or digital assets if he is downloading or sending a file or group of files.
Because correctly managing media can prevent files from being lost or deleted, media asset management can be important for business firms that frequently work with sound, images, or video. A photography studio is one type of business that needs an efficient media asset management system. This type of system can help ensure that shared and individual files are protected and organized using a comprehensible system. If an important file that took hours of work to prepare is misplaced, it can cost the firm a great deal of money in extra work hours when the work is re-done.