The number that they actually quoted to me was $1800 and some change...and they said that it was based on the size of the bar... as you said.
They have a very eclectic and non contemporary juke box and they were explaining why that was to me, and why they only allow people to play originals in the bar.
People exaggerate. What you are saying sounds correct, but the fact that it is even theoretically possible gave me something to wonder about.

The takeaway for me is that if a person's song is not on the radio in big markets getting a lot of airplay....then ASCAP, BMI, SESAC are irrelevant to that person for any practical reason. Reasonably correct assumption?