Post-Christmas traffic surge briefly overwhelms Apple’s iTunes Store

“Swarms of online shoppers armed with new iPods and iTunes gift cards apparently overwhelmed Apple’s iTunes music store over the holiday, prompting error messages and slowdowns of 20 minutes or more for downloads of a single song,” The Associated Press reports.

AP reports, “It was not immediately clear how many people were affected by the slowdowns, and Apple Computer Inc. would not immediately comment Wednesday on what caused the slowdown and whether it had been fixed. Analysts said the problems likely were the result of too many people with holiday iPods and iTunes gift cards trying to access the site at once.”

MacDailyNews Take: Geniuses.

AP continues, “Traffic indeed was heavy over the holiday, with more than four times as many people visiting the iTunes Web site on Christmas than at the same time last year, online market researcher Hitwise said Wednesday.”

AP reports, “Some financial analysts said the interruption could be viewed as a sign that sales dramatically exceeded the Cupertino-based company’s own forecasts. ‘It’s actually created more positive buzz among analysts — traffic was so great it blew up the site,’ said Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. ‘If anything it could be a positive — demand was better than they were expecting.'”

Full article here.

Related article:
Apple’s dominant iTunes Music Store saw 50% surge in sales on Christmas Day – December 28, 2005


  1. My father in law bought a Mini recently and I was showing him around iTunes and some of the other software. On the 26th I tried to download a free episode of Scrubs to demonstrate how well the store works and was unsuccessful on numerous attempts.

    At first I figured it was because it was Tuesday and they were updating the store with new content, but this explanation makes a lot of sense. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see similar slow-downs for a few more days after Christmas as people return home and utilize the gift cards, etc.

  2. This is really huge newz! After selling 14 million iPods last year, don’t you think that Apple was prepared for far greater traffic this year? And it STILL was overloaded!! Even the new Xserves weren’t enough!. I expect to hear Steve talk about this at the Keynote. I also 10am on Christmas morning tried to get the 1.2.1 update because my brand spanking new refurbished iPod ($130 cheaper) came down the chimney w/Santa with only the 1.1.x software.
    Funny, it was made in Shanghi, came to the US, went back to Shanghi for refurbishing, came back to the US and arrived via my Chinese wife who lived near Shanghi. ha

  3. Yeah, I ran into this problem trying while helping my nieces redeem gift certificates for their new iPods. A little frustrating when you’re trying to teach a 9-year-old how to use iTunes, but my Apple stock felt good! Same thing happened with the AIM system while I was demo’ing iChat.

  4. This is really huge newz! After selling 14 million iPods last year, don’t you think that Apple was prepared for far greater traffic this year? And it STILL was overloaded!!


    Not really, the store was overloaded on the day after Christmas last year as well… The point is, Apple probably didn’t feel it was necessary to purchase and increase the iTunes store bandwidth for just one day. I’m sure they knew the store would be overloaded on Dec 26, but would return to normal in the following days.

  5. iTunes could not connect to the iTunes Store. The network connection timed out.

    Make sure your network settings are correct and your network connection is active, then try again.

    ^^^ That’s the message I’ve been getting for a few days now.

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