2008 Volume 29 Issue 4 Pages 247-255
The Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange (MIREX) is the community-based framework for the formal evaluation of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) systems and algorithms. By looking at the background, structure, challenges, and contributions of MIREX this paper provides some insights into the world of MIR research. Because MIREX tasks are defined by the community they reflect the interests, techniques, and research paradigms of the community as a whole. Both MIREX and MIR have a strong bias toward audio-based approaches as most MIR researchers have strengths in signal processing. Spectral-based approaches to MIR tasks have led to advancements in the MIR field but they now appear to be reaching their limits of effectiveness. This limitation is called the “glass ceiling” problem and the MIREX results data support its existence. The post-hoc analyses of MIREX results data indicate that there are groups of systems that perform equally well within various MIR tasks. There are many challenges facing MIREX and MIR research most of which have their root causes in the intellectual property issues surrounding music. The current inability of researchers to test their approaches against the MIREX test collections outside the annual MIREX cycle is hindering the rapid development of improved MIR systems.