What is and what makes a performance rights organization?

As in the case of the American ASCAP or the Canadian SOCAN, a performance rights organization is responsible of administering and protecting the rights of all composers, performers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers from all walks of life. How do they do this? They do it by collecting licensing fees from people who want to perform the music of a particular artist publicly. In other words, the organization collects royalties on behalf of its members. The members of these organizations make a living by doing one or more of the aforementioned. Even though the main purpose is to collect licensing fees, these organizations may also offer workshops and health and instrument insurance.