It's always required it. Perhaps you had a different WINE configuration? I see from the SMP thread, you're avoiding a 32bit prefix/IE8. That would probably fix it.
edit: i've not tried this script for awhile but I'm pretty it's required for last.fm too - definitely for images. bios are available via the web service/JSON but IIRC, WilB scrapes for extra info from the webpages.
Download images never worked in wine, at least for me, not even in the old times of first wsh or jscript panel.
A 32 bit prefix doesn't make any differences besides that is mandatory if you want to install ie8 verb.
But ie8 doesn't help with download images neither to get allmusic reviews. (I makes it right know and he gives "Biography Server: allmusic album review / biography: In Your Nature / Zola Jesus: not found Status error: 12157")
Sometime ago was necessary to even makes the panel works but with spider monkey and new wine versions is no more mandatory. The panel almost works in a default install without winetricks verbs. With wsh57, gdi+ and a key in regedit (AppliedDPI) you can use all complete samples, the cool album list and biography.
The only problems (in the "you can fix now" list) that left is the crash in right click and the allmusic data
But if you go the way of ie8 verb you can't download images anyway, allmusic doesn't works, the links in all the profile are linked to ie8 (and ie8 in wine doesn't open almost any page and get stuck all time) and some script like musicbrainz info doesn't works.
Is a no go that way.
And I had to use it a long time
In this allmusic worked, I know now where my download data comes from.
Yeah last modification of Fear Factory.txt 20 dic 2019, so around this time the panel stop downloading data.
The newest are fron August 2020