MIREX is all about evaluating MIR research. Evaluations are needed to measure improvements, and thus enable improvements. Even only talking about how to conduct proper evaluations (which is what happens all the time at MIREX) is already beneficial for MIR.
Next week the MIREX 2007 preparation meeting will take place in beautiful Vienna. 25 people from all over the world are on the list of people who will attend the MIREX planing meeting. Every major European MIR lab seems to be sending someone, and there's lots of people from North America, and even from Japan and New Zealand! And I heard that a company working on MIR topics might be sending someone. And of course I'll be there, too :-)
When the evaluations started in 2004 by some fine researchers at MTG no one could have ever foreseen this success. And without Stephen and his IMIRSEL team at UIUC it would never have happened. Even a week ago I never would have thought that Stephen would manage to bring together so many researchers from all over the world for this preparation meeting.
Of course, everyone will now argue that the large number of participants is just a typical Vienna effect (everyone wants the chance to get to see the city, which I fully understand). Btw, as most of us know, this is also the main reason why the number of submitted papers to this year's ISMIR will be much higher than ever before. I hope my papers don't get rejected :-/
Anyway, this year's MIREX success is also based on the success of the previous MIREX evaluations. I know many have been very skeptical about MIREX. But many of the issues we've seen have been fixed, and with some luck this year everything will be really smooth. There's still time to jump on the train! (If you haven't done so already) :-)