Suffet, the approximate $900 total you said you pay ($300 to each) is close to the approximate $1,000 (not thousands) per year that I mentioned. The rates go up each year and I suspect your estimate is low for this year.
That's the minimum for the smallest venue, even if there's only one concert a year and only one copyrighted song is played, and even if there's free admission and even if no one attended it.
But what is only an annoyance to a small venue in NY city, with 10 million people within a $1.50 subway ride, is a disaster to coffeehouses or folk concert programs in small towns, which have been shutting down their music calendars en masse.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus concerts are paying about a penny and a half per ticket sold. So the shift away from folk music has a lot to do with those music rights organizations, which distribute the money to copyright holders in proportion to mass sales statistics. Nothing goes to the people whose songs we would like to sing.