I am putting together a presentation with some theme music on a few slides..
they play the whole song and I only want about 15 seconds to be played then
move on to the next slide - automatically - is there a way to shorten the
music loop ?


Accroding of your discription, maybe you want to cut off your music

Solutions for you :
The one method is go to Type 'virtual dj' then chooses
one of the lists below the selections you have it. You can cut songs
and videos!
Another method just checks it out below:

And you are also want to know how to make your music file played
automatically. It depends the powerpoint version you are uesd :
But first of all, you need make sure your music file is mp3 or WAV
format that can be accepted by power point. Then youcan follow these
steps below :
If you have PowerPoint 2007:
1>insert the music file:
go to insert >sound>Select Sound from File ...choose the sound which
you want ,Click OK and a message prompts, saying How do you want the
sound to start in the slide show? Click Automatically.
2>Set up the effect of the sound:
1. click animations tab, then click the custom animation, you can see
a pop-up window.
2. Click the sound file that you want to set, Click the drop down
arrow of the music item you just added from the Custom Animation list
and select Effect Options.
3. A window named Play Sound displays. Select After and then set the
total number of slides .Now when you select OK and exit the custom
animation box, your sound will continue to play.

If you have PowerPoint 2003:
1>insert the music file:
click the sound icon to display the Options tab. Click on the tab,
and set Play across slides for Play Sound.
2>Set up the effect of the sound:
1.right click on the icon in your presentation and select "Custom
2. There will be a section for "Effect" with the option to stop
playing after X slides.
3. Set the number of slides for the sound to play here. Now when you
select OK and exit the custom animation box, your sound will continue
to play.
For more details just check it out below:

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