While trying to catch up with my emails I stumbled upon Geoffrey Peeters' mail in the Music-IR list. He still has 2 open positions in the Quaro project, which is a huge project I know almost nothing about. A quick Google search revealed that Quaro is French, it's worth 200M€, will last 5 years, has 24 partners, and is Latin for "I'm searching".
I guess only a tiny fraction of Quaero will be dealing with music and MIR research. However, a tiny fraction of 200M€ is still huge, and the topics Geoffrey mentions are very interesting: genre/mood classification, music similarity, chorus detection, ... Quaero also seems to have a strong emphasis on gathering and annotating data that can be used to evaluate and improve algorithms.
Btw, there is some more information about Quaero in this presentation.
I found it interesting that the administrative work on Quaero started in August 2005. Operational work (research etc) will start November 2008. I wonder how much overhead costs they have and how much flexibility they still have?
On slide #7 the concrete innovations are mentioned (and 5 examples are given). They mention detecting soccer goals in a recording of a soccer match, identifying the songs in a sound track, and using automatic translation to enable people to search in different languages. I wonder if they had to finalize the innovative outcomes of Quaero back in 2005?
Overall it seems like part of Quaero's strategy is to enter markets which have already been covered by many startups as well as large players such as Google. In particular, it almost seems like Quaro is intended to help Exalead survive a bit longer? (Exalead is a French search engine startup. I briefly tried their search and it seemed a bit slow. When searching for "music information retrieval" they fitted 1.25 proper search results on my 15.4" screen the rest was ads and other information I don't care about... I'm not surprised they aren't doing well - not even in France.)
Anyway, IRCAM is leading Quaero's music technology, so I expect we'll see lots of great outcomes.