It's sobering but true: Your musical success may depend on the first 15 seconds of your first two songs. If those openings aren't strong enough to convince people to listen further, you might not get a second chance.
We all know that, ideally, you should listen to an artist's entire album two or three times through before offering an opinion or judgment. You have to live with music a little before you can fully grasp and appreciate it. It's somewhat demeaning that thumbs go up or down after as little as 30 seconds.
But you can have some sympathy for the person faced with a big stack of demos, or for the music fan poking around on the web hoping to find interesting new bands. There is so much to listen to, and life is busier than ever.
Don't count on infinite patience. Put your best stuff up front. Of course, you still have to follow through. If people decide to listen further, you have to show off your depth and artistry and deliver something distinctive and worthwhile. But none of that matters until you pass the 30-second test.