Roadmap for Music Information ReSearch (MIReS)


MIReS was an EU FP7-funded 18-month project focusing on the future impact of music technology research on academia and industry. The project created a research roadmap of MIR field, by expanding its context and addressing challenges such as multimodal information, multiculturalism and multidisciplinarity.


Music Information Research (MIReS) can be seen from three different perspectives:

Technical-scientific perspective comprises research aimed at processing music-related digital data with the goal to develop music applications. This includes the organization of the avaliable digital information about music, the development of new methodologies to process and understand that information, and the development of technologies for specific music applications that take advantage of the data processing methodologies.

Music-centered perspective comprises research aimed at providing computer-based technology that permits music producers, musicians and listeners to easily and intuitively discover, transform, create, interact with, and enjoy music in novel ways, by automatically finding, analysing, and interpreting music-related information. That information may relate to the music itself, to musical behaviours, or to relevant socio-cultural contexts.

Commercial-technological perspective comprises research aimed at producing technology for storing, organising, retrieving, delivering, displaying, connecting information related to music, with the goal of enabling novel user experiences, commercially successful large-scale applications, services and distribution channels for players in the digital media industry.



  • MTG, Music Technology Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain (admin / financial coordinator)
  • STROMATOLITEStromatolite Design Lab, London, UK (scientific coordinator)
  • OFAI, Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Vienna, Austria (steering committee)
  • INESCP, Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Porto, Portugal (steering committee)
  • IRCAM, Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, Paris, France
  • C4DMCentre for Digital Music, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
  • BMAT, Barcelona Music and Audio Technology, Barcelona, Spain


Advisory board:

  • Mark Levy, Team Lead, MIR at

  • James Sopper, Technical Director at SoundOut

  • Rowena Goldman, Strategic Partnerships Executive at the BBC

  • Prof Geraint Wiggins, Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London

  • Prof Atta Badii, Director of Intelligent Media Systems at the University of Reading

  • Prof Bill Gaver, Director of the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, University of London


Project Landscape and Objectives



  • Web-mediated social networks - evolution of numerous music related networked communities
  • Dynamic global market for digital music and collateral products and services - significant challenges and huge opportunities for exploitation
  • MIR results - potential to revolutionise the way music is produced, stored and marketed. Success of EU music companies such as, Shazam, BMAT and Slicethepie, e.g. May-December 2010: 75-100M users


Long-term objectives

  • Build a digital economy founded on "uncopiable intangibles": personalisation, interpretation, embodiment, findability, community
  • Ensure coherent targeted support for innovation to underpin competitive strategy for the European music industry
  • Widen and deepen the field of MIR with greater relevance to future economy and education
  • Enhance co-creativity, and foster rich user Quality of Experience (QoE) enabling a multiplicity of interpretations and the emergence of new user behaviours


Short-term objectives

  • Provide a meta-analysis of the discipline and examine applications of MIR
  • Address emergent contexts (real-time MIR, web mining) and major challenges (multiculturalism, semantic gap, multimodal information)
  • Formulate research evaluation standards and contribute to industry de facto standards
  • Engage companies and researchers from outside the EU
  • Engage the music industry in debates and events
  • Ensure dissemination in industry and establish long-term stakeholder relationships
  • Build a framework for a virtual network of MIR excellence



MIReS challenges


Technical-scientific challenges

  • How can MIR generate more meaningful musical descriptors?
  • What data is available that has not been exploited by the research community? How can we make it available?
  • What data processing methodologies are known from other research fields and have not yet been exploited/tested by our research community?
  • What music applications have not been looked into that could benefit from a data-driven approach?
  • How can performance of fundamental audio to score/harmony/melody/structure transcription methods be improved? How can OMR performance be improved?
  • Web mining and real-time MIR
  • Methods for automatic navigation/alignment/editing digital libraries
  • MIR sustainability


Music-centered challenges

  • Multiculturalism: does MIReS pay due attention to the musics of the world?
  • Does MIReS consider all relevant musical behaviours and music-making? Does MIReS pursue and exploit the artistic and expressive potential of music in adequate ways?
  • Social and collaborative perspective? (social networks, collaborative music-making)
  • Does work with high-level descriptors require new evaluation standards based on qualitative assessment?
  • Does MIReS pay enough attention to music research performed by other fields of science and humanities?
  • Support to creativity / education / training
  • Music production and digital library management standards


Commercial-technological challenges

  • Scalability
  • Interfaces which enable multiple uses and interpretations for the mass market (includes awareness / exploitation of full application potential: entertainment, gaming industry, arts, advertising, film)
  • Multi-modality: integration with other media and modalities: video, mobile platforms
  • Integration with physical environments and networks: tangible interfaces, performances, installations, exhibitions
  • Access to comercial audio databases for research purposes



Dissemination and events


MIReS will not seek to establish a new conference or workshop in competition with existing meetings, but rather will take advantage of existing conferences, networks and professional bodies, such as the European initiatives SMC, DAFx and CMMR, and international conferences hosted periodically in Europe such as ISMIR, ICMC and ICASSP. We will also target events which currently have little or no MIR presence, including conferences in fields such as neuroscience (NIPS), music psychology (ICMPC), musicology (IMS), artificial intelligence (IJCAI, ECAI, AAAI), machine learning (ICML), digital libraries (ECDL), web science (ICWS), information retrieval (SIGIR, ECIR), speech (Interspeech), video & multimedia (ACMMM, ICME, ICMR), digital arts (ARTECH), and audio engineering (AES) conferences; trade shows such as MIDEM, SanFranMusicTech, Sonar, Popkomm, and Music 4.5; and Commission showcases such as ICT2012 in Brussels.


A number of events have been conceived specifically in view of generating new knowledge which will aid the MIReS roadmapping process. These include events at academic conferences, events involving artists and musicians, industry representatives, outside experts and future users.

  • Delhi, KIIT, 18-19 January 2012, International Symposium Frontiers of Research on Speech and Music (FRSM 2012). On the 20th there will be a special workshop around CompMusic and Multiculturalism organised by MIReS (
  • Seville, 20 April 2012, MIReS panel discussion as part of the FMA workshop (INFLA/FMA)
  • London, 18-19 May 2012, Music Tech Fest: Talks, Demos, Workshops, Installations and Performances, 3D Music Hack Camp, co-organised by MIReS (
  • Paris, 2 June 2012, MIR and Creation Workshop, as part of the Manifeste Festival, IRCAM, organised by MIReS (
  • Barcelona, 14-16 June 2012, Sonar, MIReS Music Hack Day, MIReS panel discussion
  • London, 19-23 June 2012, CMMR "Music and Emotions", panel discussion organised by MIReS
  • Istanbul, 12-13 July 2012, 2nd CompMusic workshop with invited researchers and musicologists organised by MIReS (
  • Porto, 8-12 October 2012, ISMIR, a series of MIReS discussion panels


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